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Full text of "One who gave his life : war letters of Quincy Sharpe Mills : with a sketch of his life and ideals, a study in Americanism and heredity"

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initiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii 







Library of 
The University of North Carolina 



COLLECTION OF 

NORTH CAROLINIANA 



ENDOWED BY 

JOHN SPRUNT HILL 
of the Class of 1889 



L\l> ^VA [dS^.^ 



UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 



00032690614 

FOR USE ONLY IN 
THE NORTH CAROLINA COLLECTION 



Form No. A-368, Rev. 8/95 



One Who Gave His Life 

War Letters of 
Lieutenant Quincy Sharpe Mills 



One Who Gave His Life 

War Letters of 

Quincy Sharpe Mills 

With a Sketch of His Life and Ideals — ^A Study in 
Americanism and Heredity 

By 

James Luby 



With Portraits 



G.P.Putnam's Sons 

l»tewTbrk ^ London 

JD^t 'B.mckeTbockcrPrBfC 

1923 



Copyright, 1922 

by 
Nannie S. Mills 



^^ 




Made in the United States of America 



TO THE SOLDIERS OF THE RAINBOW DIVISION, 
HIS COMRADES IN COURAGE AND DEVOTION, 
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED BY THE PARENTS OF 

9ne Hdbo (3are Did lite 



^ 



FOREWORD 

Many persons have contributed information and, some, 
personal narratives or appreciations to this memoir of the 
career of Quincy Sharpe Mills. To all, the author offers 
his heartfelt thanks. In general, specific mention is made 
of the contributors in the appropriate places. 

In addition, thanks are due to Mr. Frank A. Munsey, 
at present the proprietor of The {Evening) Sun, for his 
kind permission to reprint editorials and other articles by 
Quincy Sharpe Mills, and matter referring to his career. 



vu 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER > PAGE 

I. — A Month of Tragic Waiting and its Climax 
— Tribute and Inspiration — Traditions 
OF AN American Southern Family — The 
Spirit of Liberty in Old Days 3 

II. — The Civil War and its Aftermath of Gloom 
— Tonic Influences of an ex-Confeder- 
ate Home — A Picturesque Boy and his 
Quaint Surroundings— Evolution of an 
Ideal 40 

III. — College Days at Chapel Hill, N. C. — An 
Earnest Student who was "One of the 
Boys" — Footing it through the Blue 
Ridge — Verse Grave and Gay . . 67 

IV. — A Bold Step and its Success — Ingenuous 
Bohemianism of a Young Newspaperman 
in New York — Development of a Criti- 
cal Mind — Plays, Politics and Philo- 
sophy .110 

V. — Activities and Acquaintances of a Star 
Reporter — Roosevelt and Mitchel — 
College Debts Paid Off — Conventions 
AND Vacations — Religious Stirrings 141 

VI. — Fighting on the Editorial Front Line — A 
Young Apostle of Preparedness — Raps 
AT Roosevelt — Clear Prevision of 
America's Entry into the War . .169 



X Contents 

CHAPTER PAGE 

VII. — Final Training at Plattsburg and a False 
Start for France — Depressing Condi- 
tions AND AN Inadequate Commission — 
Assignment to an Iowa Regiment 204 

VIII. — A Cheerful Voyage toward the Unknown — 
Soul of an American Crusader — War- 
time Types on an Atlantic Liner — In a 
British Rest Camp .... 230 

IX. — At Last in France — Quaint and Grim 
Habitations in a Glittering Winter 
Landscape — Langres and Fort de 
Peigney — Friendly French Relations . 261 

X. — Billeted in a Village — Intimacies of 
French Life at St. Ciergues — A Lone 
Hand in Running the Company — Gas 
Masks— Players in War — A Company 
Mascot ....... 301 

XL — Real War — The i68th Goes into the 
Trenches at Badonviller — Experiences 
under Fire — Fighting and Resting — 
Marvels of Civilian Courage . 330 

XII. — Peace of a War Training School — Climatic 
Paradox of Sunny France — Inspiring 
Visit to Domremy — Terrible Cost of a 
Victory in Champagne .... 385 

XIII. — A Soldier's Dream — After the Champagne 
Defensive, the Chateau-Thierry Drive 
— Fulfillment of Fate and Supreme 
Sacrifice — ^Asleep in France — Tributes 442 

Index 483 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING 
PAGE 



QuiNCY Sharpe Mills .... Frontispiece 
Lieutenant, i68th Regiment, U. S. A. 

Q. S. THE Junior 92 

University of North Carolina, 1905-6. 

Q. S. Mills Interviewing Theodore Roosevelt in 
1912 155 

Lieutenant Quincy Sharpe Mills . . . 456 

October, 1917. 



One Who Gave His Life 

War Letters of 
Lieutenant Quincy Sharpe Mills 



One WKo Gave His Life 

War Letters of 
Lieutenant Quincy SHarpe Mills 

CHAPTER I 

A Month of Tragic Waiting and its Climax — Tribute and Inspira- 
tion — Traditions of an American Southern Family — The Spirit 
OF Liberty in Old Days. 

In the mid-summer of 191 8 — that summer of universal 
dread — there came weeks of anguished waiting to a small 
family group and of mournful expectation to a large circle 
of friends. At last, on September 4, The Evening Sun of 
New York printed the following editorial : 

Quincy S. Mills 

The worst fears are now confirmed regarding the fate of 
Lieutenant Quincy S. Mills of the i68th Infantry. He was 
killed in battle near fipieds, between Chateau-Thierry and 
Fere-en-Tardenois, on July 26, the date from which he 
was reported as missing in the War Department Casualty 
bulletins. He was buried by Chaplain Robb of the i68th 
Infantry, and his resting place is marked and known. 

His was a glorious end. He died not merely for his country 
but for mankind, for all the things that other men live for 
and will live for during countless generations. In one sense 
his fate is only an item in an epoch of tragedy and his sacrifice 
but a mite in a world of heroism. But to him and his friends 



4 One Who Gave His Life 

the tragedy and the sacrifice were and are immense because 
they are total. He gave all that man can give and those who 
loved him suffer utter bereavement which throbs in their souls 
with a pain that no faith can dull and no pride can compensate. 

We single out this instance from the congeries of cruelties 
that is the life of today not because it is exceptional but 
because it is typical. And its phases of pain and pride come 
home to us with an intimate appeal. Mills was an editorial 
writer on The Evening Sun down to the day when he laid down 
his pen and took up the sword. He was a man of unusual 
qualities and promise, just ripening into the fulness of his 
powers. He held a serious attitude toward life. He was a 
conscientious student of public questions. He had high 
standards of honor and duty and an admirable gift of 
expression. 

The field of joumaHsm held a successful future for him, 
or he might have made his way and done good service in poli- 
tics, towards which he had a natural bent. Prosperity and 
happiness seemed assured to him, when in common with so 
many other young Americans he gave up all for an ideal. Now 
night has closed over his hopes and his prospects, so far as this 
earth is concerned; but we cannot beheve that such a spirit is 
altogether extinguished. 

This book is written in the same spirit as the above 
article. Quincy Sharpe Mills was a young American of 
Southern birth, descent and tradition. He possessed 
remarkable natural gifts ; he had an excellent training 
for his lifework; he was just gaining clear consciousness 
and full command of his powers ; he had a career of use- 
fulness and distinction before him as certain as anything 
can be in life. 

He was of cheerful temperament and courageous out- 
look; he expected to do much work in the world, to do 
it well and to reap the reward in personal success. The 
future seemed bright for him in his own eyes as well as in 
the estimation of his friends. 



The Star of Sacrifice 5 

But at an early day in the progress of the Great War, 
the star of duty and sacrifice rose on his horizon and its 
white gleam pierced his soul. From that time it was 
never obscured in his vision. No matter what other light 
dazzled or attracted him, that one purest ray wooed him 
on. He foresaw the entry of America into the struggle for 
freedom and humanity and he devoted himself to a share 
in his country's battle, regardless of the cost in hopes or in 
dreams. 

He did not speak much about it, he made no great dis- 
play of his purpose; but he was quietly resolute and 
resolutely practical. He entered at once upon a course 
of preparation for the work that he saw ahead. When the 
call came, although well above the obligatory age, he at 
once volunteered for the fighting line. He toiled his way 
into the army with a commission ; he went to France with 
his regiment and there won the affection and respect of 
his brother officers and the hearts of his men ; he was on 
the verge of promotion when death came to him in battle 
in the very act of exposing himself for the sake of others. 
Such was the climax to a career which combined an ad- 
mirable simplicity with exaltation of pitch and amplitude 
of tone. Its sequel so far as he is concerned belongs to 
the realm of faith; but all higher instinct forbids us to 
doubt that his spirit rose out of the storm of combat 
through some gateway of new and fair opportunity. All 
that is left to those who loved him, here on earth, is a 
treasure of memories and a small legacy of the first fruits 
of his expanding powers. 

This volume is planned to give definite form and longer 
duration to these memories and these relics. It is, in the 
first place, a tribute of appreciation and love. Many 
hearts, many minds and many pens have contributed to it 
besides his own. Many who knew him have united in the 
passionate wish that his figure should not fade altogether 



6 One Who Gave His Life 

out of the eyes of living men nor his spirit out of their 
recognition . 

But their desire that he should not be forgotten for his 
own sake and on his own account is not the sole impulse 
that has prompted this compilation. It is believed that 
in the life of Mills as citizen and soldier the image of 
young American manhood as it shone in the days of crisis 
and consecration is typified. In its earnest endeavor, in 
its bountiful promise and in its maimed and untimely 
end; in its rich store of human interests — friendship, love, 
work, pleasure, trial, hope — and in the generous and 
willing sacrifice of these in response to a noble sentiment, 
his all too short life cannot fail, his friends believe, to 
afford some inspiration to others in the future to whom 
the challenge of fate and of duty may come hand in hand. 

In the very limitation of his career, in the very fact 
that his supreme decision robbed him of the time in which 
to do all the other brave deeds and to pursue all the other 
useful purposes of which he was capable, some young men 
yet to Hve may find a light cast upon their way. They 
may see how tragedy when illumined by high principle 
can glorify thoughts that had hardly taken form and 
works only begun in outline. The lesson Mills taught, 
all unconsciously — for it never occurred to him that he 
was doing anything unusually fine; the way of duty, es- 
pecially of public duty was to him the obvious, the only 
way — the lesson of his life is that there is a success higher 
than success itself and a recompense more to be prized 
than prosperity or happiness. 

How he reached this higher achievement and earned 
this better reward, it is the purpose of the succeeding 
pages to show. They will present him to the reader as he 
was. In many of them he will speak for himself, especially 
in his letters after he entered the army. The outline of 
his family history and the remembrances of associates of 



Millses and Sharpes 7 

his early life and comrades of his years of work in the 
newspaper field will show how he came to be what he was, 
clear-eyed, right-minded and strong-hearted, full of the 
enjoyment of life and eager for its prizes but willing to give 
up all for an ideal. 

It will be seen that he fully understood the mortal risk 
that he incurred when he chose active service in the field. 
There is a final letter in which, as one might say, he seems 
to feel the great shadow already falling upon him. But 
he faced the danger cheerfully, even gaily, and his last 
word is a challenge to the hearts most in unison with his 
own to share his exaltation because he had done the one 
greatest thing a man can do and shared in the sublimest im- 
pulse that has thrilled the civilized world in a hundred years. 

There was a blending of strains in Quincy Sharpe Mills 
which could not fail to produce a character compacted of 
strength and human sympathy. Through the family 
history there rings a note of sturdy romance. The record 
is in effect the history of the Old North State. From the 
wild days of settlement down the patriarchal years of 
slavery, through the desperate strain of civil war and in 
the cheerless twilight of reconstruction, the Millses and 
the Sharpes were always vivid figures in the life of their 
day. 

The Mills family came to America from England at a 
very early period, and, long before the Revolution, had 
established a homestead, Mills's Point, on Chaptico Bay, 
four miles from the town of Chaptico, Maryland. Un- 
fortunately the exact date of the migration and the found- 
ing of the house cannot be given. The family records, 
brought to North Carolina by Quincy 's great-great- 
grandfather Charles Nathaniel Mills — of whom more 
hereafter — and all the early correspondence between the 
Carolinian and Maryland branches of the family were 



8 One Who Gave His Life 

destroyed by fire. But the house was built somewhere 
between 1620 and 1660. It is still in existence and is 
owned by a distant relative. The locality, which is the 
western part of St. Mary County, itself the most southern 
promontory of the state, lying between the Potomac and 
the Patuxent rivers, gives ample evidence in place names 
of the prevalence of the Millses. Near Mills's Point are 
Mills's End and Mills's Run — also Cook's Hope — all homes 
belonging to the family and some ten miles south of Chap- 
tico is Millstown, a considerable village. 

Practically all the settlers in this region were English 
Episcopalians of High Church tendencies. They were 
large slave owners, and planters on an extensive scale. 
They developed and maintained that type of patriarchal 
aristocracy which was so characteristic of the entire 
South before the Civil War. Mills's Point was only forty 
miles distant from Mount Vernon and there was an ac- 
quaintance between the owners which was cultivated by 
frequent exchange of visits. 

The War of the Revolution found Mills's Point in the 
possession of Quincy's great-great-great-grandfather, John 
Mills, through whose wife, Elizabeth Rial, daughter of 
Admiral Rial of Marseilles, France, a strain of Gallic 
blood was introduced into the family. John Mills was 
the father of five sons, including John Mills, Jr., and 
Quincy's great-great-grandfather, Charles Nathaniel, who 
was bom at Mills's Point on January 12, 1758. It was an 
incident of the Revolution in which these two figured that 
caused the removal of a branch of the family to North 
Carolina. The elder John Mills served as a captain under 
Washington in the Continental army. He was accom- 
panied by his son John Mills, Jr., who was an ensign in the 
regiment with his father. Together they took part in the 
fighting around New York, and later John Mills, Jr., 
served with the rank of captain under General Nathaniel 



A Mills Migration 9 

Greene in the Will-o- the- Wisp game which that able 
soldier played with Cornwallis from January 24, 1781, 
a week after the battle of the Cowpens, to March 15th, 
the date of the fight at Guilford Court House. This 
curious speed contest between the opposed armies had its 
course in part through the section of North Carolina lying 
between the Catawba and Yadkin rivers. 

The weather was very bad throughout that wild March. 
It rained almost continuously, flooding all the streams, a 
circumstance which was highly favorable to the patriotic 
commander's strategy though not calculated to charm the 
soldiers or to render the country attractive in their eyes. 
Prayerful thanks are still offered up by the people of that 
country for the fortunate downpour which helped in the 
ruin of the British army, but the men in the ranks and 
the company officers must often have said left-handed 
prayers as they squashed over the soggy roads while 
rivulets trickled down their backs. Yet, through the 
dismal conditions, one man saw the possibilities of the 
region. Captain John Mills observed the fertility of the 
soil and noted the abundance of game. The picture 
remained in his mind as of a good place to live in, a place 
to develop and to grow rich with. 

When the war was over and the great prize of freedom 
won, and he returned to Mills's Point, he told his neigh- 
bors about it. He praised it so convincingly that the 
curiosity and the enterprise of his younger brother, Charles 
Nathaniel Mills, were awakened. Charles started an 
agitation among his friends which caused the migration 
in 1794 of ten or twelve families, including his own, to 
what is now the southern part of Iredell County, North 
Carolina. Charles Nathaniel Mills took with him his 
wife — also named Elizabeth Rial and his first cousin, 
whom he had married on January 17, 1779 — several chil- 
dren and a number of slaves. Among the names of fami- 



10 One Who Gave His Life 

lies accompanying him are found Turner, Barber, Burrus, 
Alexander, Cook, Poston and Reeves. All these are extant 
in Iredell County, North Carolina, to-day, among the 
numerous descendants of the original settlers. An Epis- 
copal clergyman, the Rev. Hatch Dent, a relative of the 
Mills and Turner families, went with the Mary landers to 
their new home and remained for a year. 

Charles Nathaniel Mills and his son William, who was 
born in Maryland, November 7, 1784, revisited the old 
home in 1799. They were about to visit, also, their 
distinguished neighbor at Mount Vernon when the news 
of Washington's death was brought to them. This was 
the last recorded pilgrimage of the North Carolina branch 
to the original Mills settlement. The first John Mills had 
died shortly before and Charles Nathaniel took back to 
Iredell County several slaves as his share of the inheritance. 
The part}^ of migrants which went over from Maryland 
to the hilly section of western North Carolina brought a 
new element into the population of the region. They 
were all faithful Church of England communicants and 
they were the first settlers of that persuasion to penetrate 
so far west, although there was already a considerable 
population. It would seem that they must have regarded 
themselves as an oasis of orthodoxy in a waste of non- 
conformity, for all around and about them to the east, 
west, north and south, stretching far down into South 
Carolina, there was a numerous settlement of Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterians. Charles Nathaniel Mills, the leading 
spirit of the expedition, was, as has been indicated, the 
great-great-grandfather of QuincySharpe Mills. From 
among the Scotch-Irish population living all about came 
the latter's ancestors on his mother's side. 

It is unnecessary here to tell in any detail the story of 
the Scotch-Irish immigration to America or to descant 
upon the type of men and women who took part in it. 



The Sharpe Tradition ii 

Only so much need be said as will illustrate the influence of 
the strain upon the character and temperament of their 
descendant who is here commemorated. Very full notes 
on the family history have been furnished by Quincy 
Mills's mother, Mrs. Nannie Sharpe Mills, and the 
matter which follows is derived from these in combination 
with other sources. 

The Sharpe family to which she belonged departed from 
the north of Ireland among the thousands of refugees who 
came to America in the early part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury in search of liberty of conscience, freedom from op- 
pressive taxation and release from restriction of their 
industry. The tradition of the Sharpes down to the 
present day is that they, Scotch Covenanters, were twice 
driven from their homes by religious persecution. The 
first time, they moved from Ayrshire, Scotland, to Ulster 
on that account. Again, in 1704, an Act of Parliament re- 
quired all public officials in Ireland to take the Sacrament 
according to the rites of the Established Church. Presby- 
terian magistrates and other public servants were removed 
from office in the Ulster counties which had been ' * planted ' ' 
with Scotch settlers. Presbyterians were disciplined for 
being married by their own ministers. Presbyterian 
schoolmasters were imprisoned and the doors of their 
houses of worship nailed up. The raising of cattle for the 
English markets was first suppressed and then the exporta- 
tion of woolen goods, which had become a great Ulster 
interest. 

The resulting emigration to America began in 1698, 
when, it is estimated 200,000 people came over. By the 
time of the Revolution the Scotch-Irish settlers numbered 
in the neighborhood of 400,000. Many states received 
their quota, but the group that interests us here came in 
early in the seventeen-hundreds. Large numbers who 
refused to take the test oath imposed in 1704 landed at 



12 One Who Gave His Life 

New Castle, Delaware, then a part of Pennsylvania. 
While the bulk of the later immigrants went westward, 
this earlier group passed into Maryland and formed a 
fringe of settlement along the eastern coast of Chesapeake 
Bay which came to be known as "The Cradle of American 
Presbyterianism." The religious toleration of Lord Balti- 
more, the Catholic governor, attracted these refugees. 
Only later when a more bigoted regime set in did they join 
their brethren in the southward and westward movement. 

Among these early comers was Thomas Sharp, first of 
the name in the American line. He arrived some years 
prior to 1718, but the exact date is unknown. No list of 
the incomers was kept until 1724; in fact no accurate re- 
cord was ever made. He was among those who, having 
first choice, took up the desirable lands near the head of 
Chesapeake Bay. He was the great-great-great-grand- 
father of Quincy Sharpe Mills on his mother's side. His 
will which is dated January 9, 1747, describes him as "of 
Cecil County in the province of Maryland, Yeoman." 
It disposes of what must have been a goodly estate at that 
time. One third of all his movable estate is left to his 
wife, Isabella, absolutely, with a life interest in one third 
of his real estate. Sums ranging from sixty to twenty 
pounds, and totaling three hundred pounds, go to his five 
sons, two daughters and two sons-in-law. There must, in 
view of the bequest to the widow, have been a substantial 
residual estate, but no specific disposal is made of it. 

Thomas Sharp, Sr., must have been a highly successful 
yeoman and colonist. His plantation, "Sharp's Industry," 
embraced 640 acres of land near Fair Hill, Cecil County, 
Maryland; it was in the section where the boundary 
between Pennsylvania and Maryland was in bitter dispute 
until the Mason and Dixon line was estabHshed in 1767. 
He built on his land a large dwelling of stone which re- 
mained in existence until a few years ago. There is extant 



Prosperity in Iredell 13 

sufficient evidence of his prominence in the community. 
There being need of a new Presbyterian church in or near 
Cecil County in 1720, the preHminary steps were taken 
toward the organization of the Rock Church, one of the 
landmarks of Colonial piety. Sharp was active in the 
founding of it. A list of Elders given in the history of the 
congregation by the Reverend J. H. Johns, published in 
1872, shows that he was chosen Commissioner June 28, 
1720, and later an Elder. The first home of the church, 
a log building, was at the Old Stone Graveyard near 
Lewisville, Pennsylvania. The second church, of stone, 
erected in 1741, was at Sharp's Graveyard near Fair Hill. 
The graveyard was a tract of land donated by the Elder 
about the time of the founding of the church. 

Thomas Sharp died in 1 749 . The successor to his honors 
and the bulk of his estate was Thomas Sharp, Jr., who was 
an Elder of the Rock Church for more than thirty years. 
His will, made in October 1785, like his father's, distributes 
a healthy estate in land, cash and slaves among his progeny. 
He was twice married and had thirteen children, twelve 
of whom survived him. He died November 1 1 , 1785, and 
Hes buried in Sharp's Graveyard. The inscription on his 
tombstone is still plainly visible. His eldest son, William, 
was the first of the family to settle in North Carolina ; his 
w411 shows that four other sons were also living in that state 
at the time of his death. Four of these, William, Joseph, 
James and John, founded homes in Iredell County and all 
were Revolutionary soldiers, Joseph serving through the 
struggle with the rank of captain. Amos, the second son 
of Thomas, Jr., and Mary McFerren, his second wife, 
seems to have held a high place in his esteem. He makes 
special provision for the boy to remain at school for the 
purpose of securing a liberal education. Amos was the 
great-grandfather of Quincy Sharpe Mills. 

William, the eldest son and Quincy 's great-grand-uncle, 



14 One Who Gave His Life 

is spoken of in Wheeler's History of North Carolina as "a 
distinguished patriot of the Revolution who early threw 
into that dangerous and dubious conflict, 'his life, his 
fortune and his sacred honor.' He was a member from 
Rowan County of two state congresses in 1775, and again 
in 1776 when the State Constitution was framed." He 
served as aide-de-camp to General Rutherford in 1776 in 
the campaign against the Cherokee Indians; and Quincy's 
great-great-grandfather, William McKee, was also a 
member of this expedition. William Sharpe became a 
member of the Continental Congress in 1779 and served 
until 1782. He died in 1818, leaving twelve children. 
Nothing in his career was more noteworthy than his letter 
to Governor Alexander Martin of North Carolina, by 
which, under date of Salem, November 26, 1 78 1, he re- 
tired into private life. This is what he wrote: 

I beg leave through your excellency to acquaint the legis- 
lature with the lively sense I entertain of the honor which they 
have been pleased to confer by their electing me three suc- 
cessive years to be one of their representatives in Congress. 

Such repeated instances of the confidence of my country is 
very flattering and demands my unfeigned thanks. Con- 
scious of my own inability, it was with great reluctance and 
with great diffidence that I engaged in the arduous task. I 
take the liberty to assure that honorable assembly that 
although I have not executed the trust reposed in me according 
to my wishes, yet I have done it to the utmost of my abilities. 
If I have at any time erred, I trust the candor of my country 
will ascribe it to the true cause, and not to any defection of 
my heart. 

The obligations I am under to my numerous family, the 
deranged condition of my estate, which four years ago was very 
moderate and now much diminished by my long application 
to public business, are among the many reasons which induce 
me to resign my seat in Congress. At the first period of this 



Militant Ancestors i5 

great Revolution I took an active part. I have now seen, and, 
as far as in my power, assisted my country through her greatest 
struggle, and her most critical situation. The prospect of 
Independence, peace and happiness to our great republic 
brightens every day ; therefore, none can imagine that I have 
taken this step and retired to private life from any unworthy 
motive. 

Amos Sharpe, born in 1769 and therefore too young to 
aid in the struggle for independence, joined his four 
brothers in Iredell County after the Revolution. There, 
in 1797, he married Mary Andrew, only child of Hugh 
and Rebecca Blair Andrew. In two important respects 
he followed the example of his Maryland forefathers — he 
became the father of a large family, eight sons and two 
daughters, and he was for years an Elder in the Presbyter- 
ian church. He was not unmindful of his military duty, 
for he served as major in the home guard of his section. 
In the early days this organization was of vital importance 
in the defence of the frontiers. He died at his home, not 
many miles from Statesville, on March 9, 1837. The 
youngest of his ten children, Leander Quincy Sharpe, born 
in 1 816, was the grandfather of Quincy Sharpe Mills. 

Hugh Andrew, bom in 1754, was first an Orange County 
colonist. He there joined in the "Regulator" uprising 
against unjust taxation by Governor Try on, and took part 
in May, 1771, in the battle of Alamance, which might 
really be termed the first armed clash of the Revolution. 
Many of the Regulators lost their lives in this unsuccessful 
stand against oppression, and the survivors escaped to the 
frontier to elude Tryon's vengeance. Andrew, in com- 
pany with one of the Alamance leaders, James Hunter, 
called the "General" of the Regulators, went to Iredell, 
then part of Rowan County. Hunter, a man of means, 
influence and ability, had been outlawed for his activities, 
and after the Alamance affair a reward of a thousand 



i6 One Who Gave His Life 

pounds and a thousand acres of land was offered for his 
delivery, "dead or alive." He was never taken, however, 
and died forty -four years later as a result of over-exertion 
in celebrating Jackson's victory over the British at New 
Orleans.^ During the early part of the Revolution, An- 
drew served one campaign with Captain Hugh Hall. He 
was then, with Hunter, James Young and four associates, 
sent to Young's Fort to manufacture gunpowder for the 
army. This was a particularly dangerous assignment, for 
the Tories made every effort to destroy the fort and the 
men engaged in the essential task. Afterwards, Andrew 
returned to active service and fought in the battle of Cow- 
pens. From this field he brought away a souvenir in the 
shape of an English gun barrel which was fashioned into a 
poker for the six-foot fireplace of the hall of his home. 
Hugh Andrew was as Scotch in character as in name; he 
was strong-willed, grimly humorous, a firm friend, a bitter 
foe, a faithful member of the Presbyterian church and 
actively interested in the educational advancement of his 
community. His long and useful life ended on his planta- 
tion north of Statesville on July 6, 1846, in his ninety- 
second year. 

The group of Scotch-Irish immigrants to which Hugh 
Andrew belonged came to America some years after the 
arrival of the Sharps. The first comers having occupied 
the available lands near the coast, the succeeding waves, 
including the McKees, McKnights, Blairs, Andrews, 
Simontons, McHenrys, Caldwells and Waddells, all fami- 
lies whose blood was blended in Quincy Mills's mother, 
had to go further west into Pennsylvania for homes. As 
their numbers grew, they spread farther and farther, pass- 
ing southward along the valley of Virginia to Piedmont 

' See The Life and Times of James Hunter, an address delivered by Major 
J. M. Morehead on July 3, 1897, at the Guilford Battleground Annual 
Celebration. 



Enter the McKees 17 

North Carolina, and on into South CaroHna and Georgia. 
First they settled in Mecklenburg County, North Caro- 
lina, then they spread into Rowan and Iredell, carrying 
their racial strength, their religious bent and their en- 
thusiasm for freedom with them. Among their number 
was William McKee, great-grandfather of Mrs. Mills, 
who joined kindred and friends in what is now Iredell 
County but was then still, and for long years after, the 
western frontier of the state. 

The McKees, Ulster Scots from the County Down, left 
Ireland for America about 1 735. They were staunch Pres- 
byterians, and descendants of one of the defenders of 
Londonderry who had "acquitted himself with great 
gallantry and suffered patiently the horrors of that awful 
siege." The McKees established themselves in Lancaster 
County Pennsylvania, and two of the family took part in 
the ill-fated Braddock expedition of 1755. Later, three of 
the pioneer McKee brothers, William, Robert and John, 
removed to the Valley of Virginia where they prospered 
greatly. Another brother, James McKee, great-great- 
grandfather of Mrs. Mills, remained permanently in 
Lancaster, bought land there and also acquired property 
in the Tuscarora Settlement in w^estern Pennsylvania and 
in North Carolina. At his death his son Robert inherited 
the Lancaster estate; another son, John, received the Tus- 
carora land, and his widow, Margaret McKee, with her 
daughters, sons-in-law and young son William went down 
to the North Carolina plantation, the deed to which is 
dated in 1752. Three years after this date, in 1755, and 
slightly more than two miles to the west of the McKee 
land, Fort Dobbs was built as a border defence against 
the Indians. 

Meanwhile another wave of Scotch-Irish colonization 
had rolled in by way of Charleston, South Carolina, and 
one stream from it had turned westward and northward to 



1 8 One Who Gave His Life 

the frontier in this same Iredell region, where its people 
mingled with their brethren, the pioneers from Pennsyl- 
vania and Maryland. Naturally, any line of cleavage 
speedily disappeared. All were of one race, one creed and 
one type. Presently all the colonists were so blended by 
intermarriages that kinship is almost universal among their 
descendants. 

"For instance," Mrs. Mills writes, "in the little 
town of Statesville, in all of Iredell and in parts of 
the surrounding counties, we are related to most of the 
original families. The dangerous North Carolina coast 
prevented the entrance of immigration which would have 
diluted the Scotch-Irish strain and this inland colony 
has remained unaltered in character. To-day, North 
Carolinians insist that they are the real Americans. In 
support of this claim, it is worth mentioning that when the 
United States entered the Great War in 191 7, and every 
county was required to list all enemy aliens within its 
boundaries, not one was found in Iredell and indeed hardly 
any in the State." 

Mrs. Mills draws attention to a tribute to North Caro- 
lina by Senator John Sharp Williams — then Representa- 
tive — in the opening of a political speech which he made at 
Statesville, the county seat of Iredell, on October 13, 1906, 
as illustrative of the spirit of the state and its people, 
which spirit was one of the great impelling forces with 
which we have to deal in this book. Senator Williams 
said: 

You had to teach the doctrine in Massachusetts, in Virginia, 
in South Carolina and other parts of the Union that no class of 
men could be born booted and spurred to ride over their fellow 
men; but it never had to be taught in North Carolina, as you 
always knew it. Before the Revolution, and during the Revo- 
lution and after the Revolution, the Old North State has been 
by long odds the most democratic in its life and habits — and I 



A University Editorial 19 

am not using the phrase in a partisan sense — of any State in the 
Union. 



"This," Mrs. Mills comments, "sounds rather in the 
spread-eagle vein, but anyone who is familiar with the 
history of the State must recognize the essential truth of 
it. The democratic spirit was due partly to the character 
of the people and partly to the fact that all were of the 
same stock and on the same level socially and financially." 

It is anticipating the course of the narrative by many 
years, but at this point Quincy Mills may best be intro- 
duced in his own person or rather through his own pen. 
At the time of Senator Williams's Statesville speech, he 
was editor-in-chief of the Tar Heel, the weekly newspaper 
published by the students of the University of North 
Carolina. He published in the issue of October 25, 1906, 
an editorial upon the speech, and his journalistic instinct is 
displayed on this early occasion in the point which he took 
up for comment. Here is the article in full : 

Hon. John Sharp Williams, in his recent speech at States- 
ville, made one statement which we feel compelled to challenge. 
In referring to the University of Virginia he paid her a tribute 
as being the first state university to open her doors in the new 
world. While we cherish only the most sincere good will 
towards the University of Virginia, to whom we are closely 
allied by the bonds of name and of purpose, we believe that 
honor should be paid to whom honor is due. It is for that 
reason, therefore, that we feel called upon to state that the 
doors of the University of North Carolina were opened thirty 
years before those of the University of Virginia. On October 
12, 1792, the grounds of the University were chosen. Not a 
fortnight ago, we celebrated the anniversary of this event. 
The venerable Davie poplar is standing still as a montunent to 
Col. Davie and his associates. In 1793, work was begun on 
the Old East building and on the laying off of the campus, and. 



20 One Who Gave His Life 

in 1795, the University opened her doors for the first time to 
students. In 1 825 the University of Virginia followed suit. 

Not only did the University precede her Virginia sister. She 
was preceded by only one similar institution in America, the 
University of Pennsylvania, which sprang into existence one 
year earlier. By this narrow margin did the University of 
North Carolina escape becoming the pioneer of all American 
state universities. As it is, she was practically so in spirit, as 
standing for democracy and education, two principles which 
were to prove fundamental in the development of our nation, in 
the recognition of which the colleges of a continent have 
followed her lead. 

It is worth mention that if the Mississippi orator met 
all his family connections in Statesville and Iredell County, 
his right hand must have been in sad condition from 
multiplied shakings. The Sharpe connection, of which his 
name is the evidence, is very numerous in that region. 

It will be noted that prior to this digression we had 
brought into close neighborhood and association the two 
main lines of Quincy Mills's ancestry. We found that 
they were settlers of rival but not unfriendly tendencies in 
Iredell County. We must still pursue for a while the story 
of the Scotch-Irish stock which constituted the maternal 
side. "The Scotch-Irish in America," Mrs. Mills remarks 
in her notes, "have been too busy making history to write 
it." However, they are not without their chroniclers, 
whether at large or in the North Carolina field. In the 
North Carolina Booklet for March, 1905, we find a spirited 
account of them written by the Rev. A. J. McKelway. 
which affords many of the details herein presented. 

The migrants from Pennsylvania, including William 
McKee, were already experienced frontiersmen. They 
recognized and settled on the best lands and speedily 
established cultivation. The country combined tracts 



Old Colonial Days 21 

of both forest and prairie. Deer and buffalo were plenty ; 
so were bears and there were not a few panthers. The 
Indians were friendly, as a rule, but, naturally, precau- 
tions had to be taken against their instability of temper. 
The settlers came with their wives and children and goods 
and chattels loaded on great wains — the famous prairie 
schooners. They lived the life and endured the hardships 
of pioneerdom, gradually working their way from priva- 
tion by courage and industry to comfort and prosperity, 
ultimately to refinement and wealth. The versatility of 
the early settlers, men and women alike, was as remarkable 
as their thrift and perseverance. Social and economic 
organization soon replaced the primitive conditions of the 
frontier. 

Law and order were speedily enforced by regular ma- 
chinery; the genius of the people ran strongly in that 
direction. Yet something of their combative instincts 
was at work, too, for an annual military muster was or- 
dained and brought the men of the community together 
at the chief centres, the county towns, as quickly as these 
were erected. The men were skillful with the rifle, and 
rifles were manufactured at High Shoals at an early period, 
Mr. McKelway tells us. One of these weapons with a 
long barrel, and stock reaching to its muzzle, was pre- 
sented, it seems, to General Washington, and was highly 
prized by him. 

Of course the church was a primary care ; it was the funda- 
mental institution of the colony, and although the men 
listened to sermons with their rifles across their knees this 
was no bar to faithful church attendance by the pioneers, 
or to long sermons by their ministers. One of Mills's 
maternal ancestors, the Reverend James McKnight, was 
a flagrant offender in the matter of long sermons. Next 
in importance to the church came the school. In 1755, 
Governor Dobbs visited the then new county of Rowan, 



22 One Who Gave His Life 

established in 1753 and including in its area the larger 
part of western North Carolina and Tennessee. He wrote 
that ' ' some Irish Protestants had settled together with fam- 
ilies of eight or ten children each and had a school teacher of 
their own. ' ' The great influx of Scotch-Irish and of Scotch 
Highlanders into North Carolina was largely due to the 
fact that for more than thirty years, from 1734 to 1765, 
the three chief executives of the state, Gabriel Johnston, 
a Scotchman, and Colonel Matthew Rowan and Major 
Arthur Dobbs, Ulster Scots, had used every inducement in 
their power to attract their countrymen. While on this 
visit to the new county Governor Dobbs selected the site 
for a fort for the protection of the region and commis- 
sioned Captain Hugh Waddell to erect it. This strong- 
hold, named Fort Dobbs for the Governor, was long a 
tower of refuge from the frequent attacks of the red men ; 
and there in 1760 its builder, Waddell, with forty soldiers 
and many refugees, was besieged by two parties of Indians. 

The church building, wherever located, usually became 
the nucleus of a town. Statesville, for example, is built 
around the site of the first church founded in that section 
of Iredell County, then, and until 1788, a part of Rowan. 
The minister was often also the teacher of his community. 
The Reverend James Hall, D.D., a Princeton man — 
at this time the college men of Presbyterian faith were 
almost exclusively alumni of this university — was Ire- 
dell's first teacher of importance. In addition to his 
ministerial labors he established Science Hall and Clio 
Nursery, schools of great usefulness. When the Revolu- 
tion came Dr. Hall became the military as well as the 
spiritual leader, taking command as captain of a company 
of the men of his congregation. 

The Scotch-Irish of North Carolina were always to the 
fore in times of need. They had their share in the French 
and Indian War. As the conditions developed which led 



North Carolina Grievances 23 

to the Revolution, the entire state was awake. County 
committees were organized, and, in particular the Scotch- 
Irish population reached a keen state of mental prepared- 
ness for the coming struggle. It is impossible to avoid 
noticing the parallel between the causes which had driven 
these people from their homes in Ulster to cross the ocean 
and those which were now operating to effect an even 
more radical severance of ties. Besides the general causes 
of unrest, affecting all the thirteen colonies alike, the 
North Carolina Presbyterians had special grievances. 

The name of Captain Hugh McKnight, a great-great- 
great-grandfather on the maternal side of Quincy Sharpe 
Mills's ancestry, was signed in 1766 to a "Petition of His 
Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, inhabitants of Rowan 
County, to His Excellency, Josiah Martin," asking that 
Presbyterian ministers might be permitted to perform the 

Marriage Ceremony for those of their own congregation. '' 
A long list of Osbornes, Brevards, Davidsons and other 
well-known names is also subjoined. This Captain Hugh 
McKnight had received a large grant of land in Rowan 
County bordering on Mecklenburg. According to the 
North Carolina Colonial Records, volume 22, he served 
in the French and Indian War in 1759 and 1760. 

In addition to the marriage grievance, when they de- 
sired to found a university, the Queen's College, the King 
refused a charter on the specific ground of their religion . 1 1 
is not astonishing that when, on May 19, 1775, the news of 
the skirmish at Lexington reached a joint military muster 
and county committee meeting which was being held at 
Charlotte, the assemblage was fired by the startling intelli- 
gence. The next day, May 20, is annually celebrated in 
Charlotte as the anniversary of that much controverted 
Mecklenburg Declaration which local tradition fondly 
holds to have anticipated the more famous one of Phila- 
delphia in 1 776. The spirit of the entire state flamed high 



24 One Who Gave His Life 

and the general cry became, "The cause of Boston is the 
cause of all." The Mecklenburg Resolves which were 
adopted on May 31, as is well known, set forth that the 
joint address of the two Houses of the British Parliament 
to the King had virtually ' ' annulled and vacated all civil 
and military commissions granted by the Crown and sus- 
pended the constitutions of the Colonies." Mecklenburg 
County is the next-door neighbor of Iredell to the south 
and its people were of the same stock, with the same ideals. 
The two were settled by the same wave of migration, and 
a great part of this was from the Maryland ' ' Cradle of 
Presby terianism. ' ' 

At the beginning of the Revolution, the Scotch-Irish, 
it is estimated, numbered about 400,000 souls, one-sixth 
or, if negro slaves be excluded, one-fourth of the entire 
population of the thirteen insurgent colonies. In the back, 
or inland, counties of North Carolina, as of Pennsylvania 
and Virginia, they were altogether the preponderating 
element. They were to a man on the side of the colonies 
and of independence; they put forward ail the strength 
that was in them and they exercised a mighty influence. 
Everyone of old descent in the western counties to-day has 
ancestors who fought in the Continental armies. Fgur 
of Mills's Revolutionary forbears have already been 
mentioned: the two captains, John Mills, Sr., and John 
Mills, Jr., on the paternal side and two great-great-grand- 
fathers, Hugh Andrew and William McKee, of his mother's 
family. Besides these there were many other Revolution- 
ary soldiers of various degrees of kinship in both lines of 
his ancestry. William McKee served first (as has been 
noted elsewhere) in the campaign under General Ruther- 
ford against the Cherokees in the summer of 1 776. In the 
spring of that year this tribe of Indians, incited by the 
British, descended from the mountains in a succession of 
murderous forays, and by the 28th of June two hundred 



Revolutionary Patriots 25 

western settlers had been slain. General Griffith Ruther- 
ford, military commander of the district, collected two 
thousand four hundred men of the militia under his com- 
mand, and by a swift movement into the Indian country 
surprised the savages and completely destroyed their 
power to harass the frontier. The Reverend James Hall 
of Iredell was Chaplain of the expedition, and in a diary 
kept by Captain Charles Polk, who was at the head of one 
of the companies, is this entry: "On September 15, 1776, 
Mr. Hall preached a sermon. ' ' This was probably the first 
religious service ever held in these wild mountain val- 
leys. Rutherford's force started on its march for the 
trackless mountains on July 19, and after the accomplish- 
ment of their arduous task the men were disbanded at 
Salisbury on October 3. Afterwards, McKee served 
under General Davidson and Colonel Locke, and refused 
to accept any compensation for his military service. His 
country needed the money more than he did, he declared. 
It was his belief that a man should no more accept pay for 
defending his country than for protecting his family. This 
disinterested attitude has remained a tradition of fruit- 
ful pride among his descendants. While William McKee 
was soldiering with the North Carolinians his older 
brother, Robert, served as captain of a Pennsylvania 
company, and a first cousin, Colonel William McKee, of 
Rockbridge County, Virginia, marched with the Old 
Dominion troops from Point Pleasant to the surrender of 
Cornwallis at Yorktown. 

The North Carolina patriot soldiers appeared in many 
parts of the country where hard fighting was going on. 
They proved their mettle under Washington at Mon- 
mouth, Brandy wine and Germantown; with him they 
suffered at Valley Forge; to them Wayne assigned the 
most difficult task in the storming of Stony Point. In 
their own region they were prominent at Moore's Creek 



26 One Who Gave His Life 

where they defeated the Highland Scotch Tories by 
matching their rifles against the broadsword. They had a 
share in the victories of Ramsour's Mill and Colson's 
Farm, and in the fiery resistance to the British occupation 
of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County which led Cornwallis 
to call the town the ' ' Hornet's Nest. ' ' The nickname was 
adopted by the people with great pride, and from that day 
to this Charlotte has always had a military company 
called the Hornet's Nest Riflemen. Of such rich color is 
the local history and tradition of the countryside. The 
Scotch-Irish volunteers also made up a majority of the 
Colonial troops at King's Mountain, where some thirteen 
hundred of them annihilated a British force of over a 
thousand. By stubbornly opposing Cornwallis's advance 
they turned what he expected to make a conquering march 
across the Carolinas and Virginia into a hasty retreat to 
Wilmington, and under General Greene they took part in 
the battles of Guilford Court House and Eutaw Springs. 

After the war, these men went quietly back to their 
farms or their workshops and turned their energies to 
improving their own and their children's circumstances 
and building up the country. William McKee prospered. 
At his death on February 17, 1820, he left to his eight 
children and his wife, Mary McHenry McKee, large hold- 
ings of land and other property. His son, John Henry 
McKee, born March 21 , 1784, great-grandfather of Quincy 
Mills, inherited from him the homestead near Statesville. 
This original McKee plantation still remains in the family. 
It is now the property of John McKee Sharpe, a first cous- 
in once removed, as his Irish forbears would have de- 
scribed the relationship, of Quincy Mills, that is to say, a 
first cousin of Mills's mother. 

John Henry McKee, the second proprietor, according to 
tradition, was an unusually silent man, of even temper and 
level head. He had strong business ability and added to 



Plantation Activities 27 

his inheritance. On October i8, 1821 , he married his first 
cousin, Mary McKnight, who died in 1836, leaving two 
daughters, Mary and Sarah. Mary, the eldest, was the 
grandmother of Quincy Mills. John McKee's was a peace- 
ful life, although two of our six major wars fell within his 
time, the struggle of 18 12-15 ^^^ the Mexican adventure. 
He was Colonel of a home regiment during the former war, 
but North Carolina troops had small part in either conflict. 
None went to the front in the second war with England 
and but one regiment of volunteers was sent to Mexico, 
only two companies of which were actually engaged in 
battle. 

In John McKee's period, down to the Civil War, the 
North Carolina plantations raised vast quantities of food- 
stuffs, but, in addition, had very notable industrial inter- 
ests. There was an extensive system of home manufactur- 
ing of wool, cotton and leather. Small quantities of silk, 
even, were grown on some plantations and spun and woven 
on the spot; but this was not usual. On each plantation 
there were spinning houses, loom houses and sewing houses, 
still houses, shoeshops and blacksmith's shops. All were 
kept humming with work. Everything actually needed 
for home consumption was produced — only luxuries were 
imported — and there was a large surplus for shipment. 
This was sent by wagon train mostly to Charleston, S. C, 
where it was sold, and comforts and luxuries bought with 
the proceeds were carted back to the far inland homes. 

The region remained isolated to a considerable extent; 
but a high degree of intelligence and education prevailed 
among the white population. Interest in national affairs 
and in the current history of the world was general and keen. 
"My mother has told me," Mrs. Mills writes, "that 
one of her earliest recollections (she was bom on Christ- 
mas day, 1823, and lived until February 22, 1904) was of 
frequent gatherings of the men from homes near and 



28 One Who Gave His Life 

far who came to discuss politics and the news of the day. 
The social side of life thus became strongly developed. 
It consisted of a constant round of visits among relations 
and friends spread out over the land," 

Slavery had been introduced in the eighteenth century. 
It had, in fact, been forced upon the people by the English 
government against their will. It had become, however, 
a part of the machinery of life ; it seemed essential to the 
plantation owners and everyone was reconciled to it. 
Residents of the section to-day hold as a truth established 
by tradition that the treatment of the slaves was better 
in North Carolina than in any other part of the South. 
"They were, of course, well cared for physically as valu- 
able property," Mrs. Mills points out, "but, in addition, 
their owners gave earnest thought to their own responsibil- 
ity for the moral condition of these dependents not long 
removed from savagery. One of my mother's duties as a 
young woman was to assist in the religious instruction of 
the negroes, and from her I learned that there was but one 
master of all those known to her who was cruel to his 
slaves. In fact, grandfather McKee, along with many 
other Southerners, disapproved of slavery on principle, 
and the question might have been settled in a short time 
had not the war been precipitated." 

With the Civil War period — still following the Scotch- 
Irish or maternal line of ancestry — Quincy Mills's grand- 
parents, Leander Quincy Sharpe and Mary Emmeline 
McKee, married on March 19, 1845, and both of Iredell 
County, now step into this narrative. In his mother's 
words, "he always seemed to be largely a blend of these 
two fine natures." He had a remarkable directness of 
mind, a power of going straight to the kernel of a question. 
This power, Mrs. Mills believes, he derived especially 
from her mother, who exhibited the same trait. 



Tragedy after the War 29 

"I have a strong feelingof reverence for my mother, Mary 
McKee," writes Mrs. Mills, "for the brave way in which 
she met her many sorrows and misfortunes. Her early life 
was smooth and pleasant, free from any trouble or aiLxiety. 
Then, in February, 1866, she was left a widow, literally 
without money, and with three children to support and 
educate. She had land in abundance ; everyone had ; but 
no money to pay the taxes on it. 

' ' Our home was surrounded by a grove several acres in 
extent, and one of the most vivid of my memories is that 
of being carried out at night by my nurse to see campfires 
shining among the trees and groups of soldiers gathered 
about them. They were a part of the force of General 
Stoneman whose army raided our portion of the State 
after Lee's surrender in April, 1865. Everything of value 
had been hidden before their arrival, but few of these hid- 
ing places escaped their vigilance; they carried off all 
jewelry and silverware found; even the silk dresses (the 
few left after four years of war) of the women were taken. 
Of the foodstuffs searched out from their concealment, 
from preserves to meat and grain, the soldiers took what 
they could use and destroyed the remainder. The most 
serious loss was that of all stock from the plantations. The 
farm animals had been driven back into the loneliest, least 
accessible places in the hope of saving them from the 
raiders. In nine cases out of ten they were found and 
taken off by the soldiers ; my father and grandfather Mc- 
Kee lost their all in this line. 

"When Stoneman's army withdrew, many of the young 
negro men left with it ; not a few of the black husbands and 
fathers, also, abandoned their families to follow the sol- 
diers, and the greater number of these adventurers never 
returned. My father shared with his remaining darkies 
the scanty store of grain and meat that had not been found 
in the repeated searches of the home and surrounding 



30 One Who Gave His Life 

premises; then they, too, departed to seek new living 
quarters. They could not believe their freedom real until 
they had proved it by moving, if only from one farm to the 
next. There was no money to pay these freedmen wages, 
therefore the landowners parceled out their plantations 
into small tracts which were farmed by the negroes 'on 
shares,' and everybody went to work with a will to make 
the best of a seemingly hopeless situation. 

"Northerners can never comprehend the poverty, the 
helplessness of the South in the years following the close 
of the War. Entirely an agricultural country, it was left 
without farm animals to work the land, without grain to 
seed it, without implements to till it, without appliances 
or supplies of any kind. The poverty was hard, but the 
change in the social life was even more desolating. The 
homes that had been centres of enjoyment and happiness 
were silent and gloomy. Nearly all mourned the loss of 
sons in battle; all suffered from extreme privation; over 
all hung like a pall the terror of negro domination. 

"My mother struggled along through these and other 
misfortunes. We did not suffer any actual hunger though 
many did. But schools from the University down were 
broken up and the education of my generation was in 
many cases gathered from home instruction and from 
reading — if, indeed, there was leisure or inclination to read 
in that distracted time. The lack of mental food was worse 
than the lack of a liberal living. We were mentally and 
temperamentally starved. Sidney Lanier put it well when 
he wrote : ' We didn't live ; we just didn't die. ' 

* ' My childhood recollections throw light upon a period 
and phase of American life that is remote and incompre- 
hensible to people of the present day. Our home during that 
time, situated on the eastern edge of the county seat, the 
little town of State sville, would nowadays be considered 
a small farm. The negro quarters and outbuildings in 



Studies in Black and White 31 

addition to the home made quite a community, and to the 
south about a mile away was what we called 'the little 
plantation' which was cultivated by negro laborers sent 
out from the town place. To the north, ten miles away, 
was 'the river plantation' managed by an overseer who 
kept there a sufficient number of slaves to carry on the 
work of a large and productive farm. Most of the States- 
ville people of that day were like ourselves owners of land 
outside the town, therefore the whole population was really 
dependent upon the country. 

"A child's memories begin with pictures of its surround- 
ings which are not understood at the time, but are inter- 
preted afterwards by the knowledge and experience gained 
from the passing years. It is strange how numerous and 
distinct are the negro portraits that have remained per- 
manently engraved upon my mind. Among these is that 
of our Mammy Leah who possessed all the outward marks 
of the traditional southern mammy. She was rotund, 
fond of children and beamingly good-natured, but she did 
not measure up to the accepted standard of loyalty to her 
'white folks.' Unfortunately she could not distinguish 
between mine and thine. Mammy failed to assimilate 
her share of the moral instruction dealt out to the McKee 
and Sharpe darkies, for she did not hesitate to appropriate 
whatever appealed to her fancy from the food, clothing 
and trinkets of her master's house. My mother admon- 
ished and warned to no effect, so finally the decree of 
banishment to the river plantation fell upon our ebony 
friend; and, another instance of the innocent suffering 
along with the guilty, her husband. Uncle Jesse, shared 
her punishment. This was not compulsory ; the choice was 
given him of going or staying, and his reply was, 'I go 
with Leah.' It was a sore inconvenience, and a financial 
loss as well, to give up his services in town, for he was an 
expert shoemaker and repairer and when not busy with 



32 One Who Gave His Life 

home work was earning money by making footwear for the 
slaves of the townspeople about us. But my father and 
mother were too humane to break family ties, therefore 
Uncle Jesse accompanied his wife into an exile as hateful 
to the excitement-loving, social negro race as was Siberia 
to Russia's political offenders. There was no ill-treatment 
up on the river, for the overseer there was a just and pa- 
tient man, but the loneliness of the widely separated 
plantations was unendurable after town life. 

" I, at that time quite a small child, knew nothing of the 
impending tragedy and its cause, but one morning sounds 
of distress in the negro quarter drew me out of the house to 
the yard to find Mammy Leah and Uncle Jesse seated on 
chairs in a big farm wagon, she with her apron thrown over 
her head and her lamentations ringing over the whole 
place. My sympathy was so aroused by her weeping that 
my wails were added to hers without any understanding 
on my part of what it was all about. Uncle Jesse, white- 
haired and with a fringe of white whiskers around his face 
in Uncle Ned style, sat perfectly quiet, his hands clasped 
on top of his staff. Thus Mammy passed out of our life 
forever, for she died not long thereafter. Uncle Jesse 
lived on for years, often coming to my mother for help 
after freedom came to him. Emancipation brought priva- 
tion and suffering to the aged or helpless among the 
negroes unless they were looked after by their former 
owners, and such was the universal practice in our section. 
This old shoemaker was always serene and silent; the 
little he had to say was delivered in a fine, thin, high- 
pitched voice, the like of which I never heard from any 
other darky's throat. As a race they are remarkable for 
full, deep voices that fall musically upon the ear. 

"William and Sam, brothers of about ten and twelve, 
and two small black limbs of Satan, reappear to my mind's 
eye as perpetually turning cartwheels on the grass in the 



Fond Recollections 33 

rear of our home for the entertainment of the white chil- 
dren and a crowd of their own dusky followers. The only- 
work assigned to these two boys, so far as I ever knew, was 
the task of waving the beautiful peacock feather brushes, 
one at each end of the long dining table, at breakfast, 
dinner and supper. With them, to be still was to be sleepy, 
and they could never perform this arduous dining room 
duty without nodding and finally falling asleep ; the pea- 
cock feathers would wave slowly and yet more slowly 
until at last the tips would descend upon the dishes. Then 
my father would turn to the black head nearest him and 
give it a rap with the carving knife handle that would 
bring the brothers both to the alert for a time. My food 
was really little pleasure to me those days, for I was all 
horrified expectation of those never failing nods and 
equally certain raps. Perhaps the boys drew lots as 
to which should take the post of danger next their 
master. 

"The dearest of these dark portraits remaining in my 
mind is that of my nurse Caroline, a young woman of 
twenty-two or twenty-three with more gentle quietness 
and refinement in her nature than any other member of 
her race known to me except her mother, Elizabeth, who 
was the house seamstress. I was almost constantly with 
these two, and when older I realized that they had been 
selected as house servants because of their reliable qualities. 
My nurse, her mother. Uncle Jesse and my grandfather 
McKee'scook, Isabella, always called Aunt Ibby, were of a 
different type from the other darkies. Their coloring, 
thin features and bearing were more Indianlike than 
African, and they possessed dignity and reserve. Aunt 
Ibby was a wonderfully fine cook, and the delicious food 
that was served from the kitchen of the old McKee home- 
stead was famous far and near. The taste and odor 
of the waffles she made every morning for my grand- 



34 One Who Gave His Life 

father's breakfast have remained a deHghtful gastronomic 
memory. 

"A pleasure Caroline and I shared together was watch- 
ing my grown-up sister and her friends gathered around the 
piano in the parlor, and listening to their singing. My 
observations began in wartime, for I was born in 1859, 
but there seems to have been no lack of beaux in those 
merry crowds; the young men must have been soldiers 
home on furlough, for every man of fighting age was then 
in the Confederate army. Of course the war songs, 
Maryland My Maryland, Dixie and others were the prime 
favorites, though songs from the old operas were not 
neglected, and of these. Hear Me, Norma, thrilled us 
most. 

' ' My mother knew the hardships of this old life that to a 
a child appeared altogether happy and desirable. She was 
such a busy woman that she had to deny herself, to a large 
degree, the companionship of her children. Every woman 
at the head of a Southern household in those days had an 
overflowing measure of responsibility, but her duties were 
probably more exacting and numerous than those of any 
other wife and mother in our small town. This was due to 
the fact that my father's profession and his political ac- 
tivities kept him away from home much of the time, and 
in the years when he was a member of the State House or 
Senate he was absent during the sessions of the Legislature. 
In addition to the oversight of her five children and the 
home, always filled with visitors from the large circle of 
relatives and friends, the direction of the work on the 
nearby plantation fell upon her shoulders. But her hard- 
est problem was the management of the negroes. I have 
heard her say, in speaking of the transition from too many 
servants to none at all, that she was emancipated along 
with her slaves. Her position was rendered more trying 
by an unusually sensitive conscience. 



Leander Quincy Sharpe 35 

"My father, Leander Quincy Sharpe, for whom my boy 
was named, must have been one of the most lovable of 
men. I was little more than six years of age when he died 
in 1866, so my memories of him are vague. But wherever 
I went as a child or as a young woman people talked to 
me about my father, of his ready wit as a speaker, of his 
gayety, unfailing kindness and cheerfulness, of his uni- 
versal popularity. His cheerfulness of spirit was wonderful 
in view of the fact that he was never strong and that he 
suffered severely for several years before his death. A 
part of his education was received at Davidson College, 
not far from Statesville, one of the first institutions of 
learning to be founded near us, at which, I may remark, 
President Wilson received two years of his college train- 
ing. It has always had a large attendance from among the 
Presbyterian descendants of the Scotch-Irish in the South. 
After leaving college my father entered the law school of 
Richmchid M. Pearson, afterwards Chief Justice of the 
North Carolina Supreme Court, at Richmond Hill,, 
Yadkin County; when his law course was completed he 
entered upon the practice of his profession in Statesville, 
and he was successful from the first. He was a member of 
the State House of Representatives in 1856, 1864 and 
1865, and of the State Senate from i860 to 1862. A short 
time before his death he had been elected solicitor for the 
Iredell District which at that time included the entire 
western part of the State. He was opposed to secession 
and used every effort to prevent it. In Reconstruction in 
North Carolina by J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, of Colirm- 
bia University, a work published in Raleigh, L. Q. Sharpe 
is mentioned on page 19 as one of a group who opposed the 
bill passed January 30, 1861, which provided for submit- 
ting to the people the question of calling a convention to 
consider Federal relations. He and his supporters, four 
in number, contested every step in the progress of the 



36 One Who Gave His Life 

measure and gave the secessionists infinite trouble. As a 
result of their determined fight against secession my father 
and his associates in the contest, when on the way to their 
homes at the close of the session, were almost mobbed at 
Salisbury, N. C, by a number of hot-headed advocates of 
the measure. This was the only evidence of public ill- 
will my father ever experienced, as his attractive person- 
ality made him a favorite with all parties, 

"The people of North Carolina withdrew most reluc- 
tantly from ' the Union of States that had been in such large 
part constructed by the heroism and wisdom of their own 
fathers.' But having finally cast in her lot with the Con- 
federacy the State supported with the last oimce of her 
strength the cause she was so slow to join. The records of 
the War Department at Washington show that North 
Carolina furnished more troops — one-fourth of the entire 
force raised by the Confederate government during the 
war came from our State — and lost more men in killed 
and wounded than any other Southern state. Her total 
contribution was 125,000 men. Again, as in the days of 
'76, her dangerous seacoast played a part in history, for 
the Northern fleet found it impossible to seal her ports. 
Swift and daring blockade runners brought in from Nassau 
and Bermuda clothing and equipment not only for her own 
soldiers but for the troops of other states. But for this help 
the unequal struggle between the North and the South 
would have ended long before April, 1865. 

"The best illustration of my father's nature I can give 
is to tell this story of his devotion to one of his friends. 
While he was attending court at the county seat of an 
adjoining county, one of the other lawyers was stricken 
with smallpox. Such was the dread of the scourge at that 
time that the sick man was literally deserted — left alone 
in the hotel where he was stopping. My father went to 
him at once and took charge of the case imtil an immune 



Scotch- Irish Heritage 2>7 

nurse could be procured. Then he went home and isolated 
himself with one servant; fortunately, however, there 
were no serious results from the risk so generously taken. 

"He contracted typhoid fever in Raleigh while serving 
as a member of the Legislature in 1866, and returned to 
our home in Statesville to die of it there on February 13 
of that year. Typhoid was until recent years a terrible 
affliction to the South. On February 26, thirteen days 
after my father's death, his eldest child, a young woman of 
nineteen, died of it, and in 1890 a younger sister, most 
beloved, contracted it in Richmond, Virginia, during an 
epidemic and succumbed. Quincy almost died of it some 
years later. 

"Quincy inherited my father's cheerful nature and his 
ability to make friends. My mother and I long hoped 
that he might take up the study of the law, and so, as I 
might say, round out his grandfather's unfinished career. 
But Quincy had no gifts as a speaker, and realized the 
deficiency. Therefore he wisely determined to make his 
way with his pen. He intended, however, to enter politics, 
for it was his belief that political power, honestly gained 
and rightly used, was the one thing really worth while." 

Mills would have been a potent influence for good in 
public life had he lived to enter it because he was at once 
intelligent and incorruptible. He would have advocated 
wise and honest policies and could not have been swerved 
from them by any selfish consideration. He had a very 
keen enjoyment of the good things of life, but they were of 
no moment to him as compared with cravings of the spirit. 

In the account given above of the Scotch-Irish branch 
of his ancestry the origin of many of his most prominent 
traits of character may be found. They were clear headed, 
independent, industrious people; they had a faculty of 
concentration on an idea, an intensity in their make-up 



38 One Who Gave His Life 

which tended toward religious fervor, or even fanaticism. 
This inheritance in him ran rather to a spirit of public 
service and to patriotic enthusiasm. The same qualities 
which made them exiles because of sectarian oppression, 
and revolutionists and separatists in the days of the 
Revolution made him a fervent advocate of war with 
Germany and one of the first volunteers for active duty 
in the field. The addiction to work and thrift, the produc- 
tive power of the North Carolina settlers, were perpetu- 
ated in his earnest and fruitful labor in his chosen field 
of journalism. Besides the inheritance of blood, the 
biological influence, there was the effect of local and family 
tradition upon the development of his mind and character. 
Of this influence his mother speaks with full knowledge 
and correct understanding. 

"Southerners," writes Mrs. Mills, "live much more in 
the past than do the people, generally speaking, of the 
North. To them the war of the Revolution seems near 
and they reckon time by the Civil War ; this or that hap- 
pening was so many years before or after 'The War,' 
they still say. Like all old settlements, our community 
of Iredell County is rich in tradition and many are the 
stories that have come down to us from the early days. 

"During Quincy's boyhood and during his college vaca- 
tions, I sometimes called his attention to this store of 
historic and romantic tradition, which awaited some pen 
to give it permanent form. Had he lived, the time might 
have come when he would have turned to this fascinating 
task. But, of course, the work he had to do was more 
pressing and more important. 

"The Scotch-Irish, of whom he was one-half the des- 
cendant, have been called the Puritans of the South; but 
our people possessed, as well as their rigid principles, a 
rich humor and wide tolerance quite foreign to the typical 
Puritan nature and training. While devotion to their 



Liberal Puritans 39 

church was the rule, the number of men of our stock who 
could never tie themselves down narrowly to a creed was 
and is remarkably large. They could not love their Lord 
by 'rule and line,' though their lives bore testimony to 
their belief in Him." 



CHAPTER II 

The Civil War and Its Aftermath of Gloom — Tonic Influences of 
AN ex-Confederate Home — A Picturesque Boy and His Quaint 
Surroundings — Evolution of an Ideal. 

We must now return to the fortunes of the Mills family 
which we left prosperous pioneers of English Episcopalian 
antecedents, flourishing in the midst of the Scotch-Irish 
Sharpes and McKees in the Statesville region of Iredell 
County and naturally living much the same life as their 
neighbors, socially and economically. Charles Nathaniel, 
the leader of the exodus from Maryland, lived until Decem- 
ber 17, 1843, when he was nearly eighty -six years old. His 
wife Elizabeth Rial, who was born in 1763, survived him 
until August 22, 1854, when she died at ninety-one. Next 
in the line of Quincy Mills's ancestry was their son, Wil- 
liam, born in Maryland, November 7, 1784, who has al- 
ready been mentioned as accompanying his father on a 
visit to Mills's Point. He married Elizabeth Dearman on 
Februarys, 1820 and lived to the age of eighty-seven years, 
dying August 26, 1871. His widow lived ten years longer, 
reaching the age of eighty -one. 

In 1 861, at the beginning of the Civil War, William Mills 
was living on his plantation a few miles south of States- 
ville. Like John Mills of the Revolutionary War, he was 
the father of five sons as well as four daughters — great 
ages and large families were the order of these days. All 
the sons served the Confederacy. Among them was 
Quincy's grandfather, Henry Mansfield Mills, who was 

40 



In Confederate Service 41 

bom April II, 1 83 1. His wife, Mary Dickson, whom he 
married in 1853 (November 3), died in 1859, leaving one 
son, Thomas Millard Mills, born September i, 1856, who 
became the father of Quincy Sharpe Mills and who is still 
living. Henry Mills enlisted in one of the first military 
organizations formed in that region for service in the Civil 
War, Company C (part of the 4th North Carolina regi- 
ment of infantry) of Statesville, commanded by Captain 
Andrews. He did not go to the front, however; he was 
found physically disqualified, and sent home to serve in 
civil life. The Confederate Government appointed him 
tithing agent and postmaster at Granite Hill, Iredell Co., 
and he discharged the duties of these positions faithfully 
to the end of the conflict. His pardon for having served 
the Confederacy, a formidable looking document signed by 
Andrew Johnson, is in the possession of his children, and at 
this late day they are still given to explosions of wrath 
when they speak of it. Every man who served the Con- 
federate Government officially received one of these par- 
dons. One of Henry Mills's brothers, Quincy's grand- 
uncle. Dr. Richard Mills, was a surgeon in the Confeder- 
ate army throughout the war. He was employed much of 
the time in the military hospitals aroimd Richmond. Two 
other brothers, Frank and Harrison, were in Company B, 
second North Carolina regiment of cavalry, and saw active 
service in the four years' campaigns from 1861 to 1865. 
The fifth brother, James, also volunteered, but was as- 
signed to duty at home as an expert in mill machinery. 

The drain of the war and the collapse of the Confederacy 
brought financial ruin to the Mills family as to practically 
the entire South. Their old home, handed down from 
Nathaniel, the pioneer, passed out of their hands. All the 
brothers returned to Iredell County when the struggle was 
over, and Henry settled down on a small farm on the east- 
em edge of Statesville. He contracted a second marriage 



42 One Who Gave His Life 

with Miss Anna Robinson, and of this marriage five chil- 
dren were bom. These were: Richard J. Mills, James 
Forney Mills, Mary Elizabeth Mills Cowan, Nannie 
Williams Mills and Hugh Mills. Mrs. Cowan and Miss 
Mills contribute reminiscences to this book. James 
Forney Mills, to anticipate a little, joined the army in the 
Spanish War as a member of the Iredell Blues, a historic 
military organization of Statesville incorporated in the 
First North Carolina Regiment. He was one of the first 
American soldiers to set foot on Cuban soil, and he made 
his campaign notable by a series of vivid letters, describing 
events and conditions, which were published in the States- 
ville Landmark. 

To go back, the farm on which Henry Mansfield Mills 
made his home after the close of the Civil War was a 
picturesque spot in a rolling country of alternating woods 
and farm lands, which stretches far to the east and south 
of Statesville. We shall return to it presently, for it was 
one of the great influences in Quincy Mills's boyhood. 
There his grandfather, tired from the war that had raged 
around him, though his part was only that of a non-com- 
batant, and depressed by the sorrows of reconstruction 
days, settled down into a quiet life which was prolonged 
to August 1 8, 1909, when he was in his seventy-ninth year. 
There grew up Thomas Millard Mills and his half brothers 
and sisters among the cramped and gloomy conditions and 
in the saddened atmosphere which pervaded the Southern 
States for almost a quarter of a century. 

A vivid idea of the conditions of the time as they are 
preserved in memory by Nannie Sharpe, now Mrs. Mills, 
has already been given in her own words. While the young 
Mills was growing to manhood at his father's house, she 
was developing from girlhood into young womanhood 
under her widowed mother's care in the Statesville home 
of the Sharpes. The two young people — she was three 



Family Affairs 43 

years the younger, having been born December 6, 1859 — 
were of different racial descent, and, back of the war, held 
different traditions. But there was never anything like 
a feud between the two religious elements in North Caro- 
lina, once the curse of governmental persecution had been 
abolished by the Revolution. At any rate, difference in 
religion or antecedents has never been a serious obstacle 
to the mating of youth. It never was in North Carolina. 
It did not so operate in the Mills family. Therein there 
was a double blending. Thomas M. Mills became the 
husband of Nannie Sharpe, and his half sister, Mary 
Elizabeth Mills, took for her husband James Leonidas 
Cowan, a descendant of John Knox, but so unlike his an- 
cestor in temperament as to afford friends and relations an 
ever amusing contrast with the grim Scottish reformer. 

The young Mills couple were married in Statesville, 
on September 25, 1881. There Quincy was born on Jan- 
uary 15, 1884, and there was his home for the first five 
years of his life. He was christened in Trinity Church, 
Statesville, and of the event his aunt, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth 
Mills Cowan, writes in a memoir, prepared for use in this 
book : " I remember his baptism as one of the most beauti- 
ful I ever witnessed, with the late afternoon sunshine 
slanting through the stained glass window and falling on 
his head. It seemed more than an earthly baptism." 

We first get a real vision of the boy as a quaint and lov- 
able little chap, delicate and reflective in one aspect, but 
full of animal spirits, love of contention and the joy of life 
at the same time. The boy was father to the man in his 
curious mixture of contradictory qualities, of controversy 
and amiability, of alert action and dreamy contemplation. 
He remained an only child, and the bonds of affection 
between him and his mother were strongly and closely 
knit. Here is a picture of him in this first phase : 

" Quincy 's interest in books," Mrs. Mills writes, "be- 



44 One Who Gave His Life 

gan by the time he could hold one in his hands. From 
then on to the time when he could read for himself, I was 
called upon to explain pictures and put in all my spare 
moments reading aloud for him — and what a delight it was 
to both of us! " The reading aloud did not cease with his 
ability to read for himself. We shall learn more of it 
presently; but of this earliest period of the opening of the 
child mind in contact with the mother's, Mrs. Mills goes 
on: "I remember well one book, a natural history, 
which was for a long while his special favorite. I was re- 
quired to tell the story of each picture over and over again 
and whenever we reached the picture of a herring which 
adorned one page, he would plant a fat finger on it and 
contradict me when I read out 'Herring.' 'No,' he would 
say, 'it's a fish!' Our argument would go on until I tired 
out and surrendered, saying, 'Well, have it your own way,' 
and the game ended in a laugh and a romp. 

"How this started, I do not remember, but we always 
used exactly the same words. It seems a small thing to 
tell, but it is remarkable that at this early age Quincy 
should have shown this whimsical trait of taking the op- 
posite side and arguing for argument's sake. The love of 
argument grew with his growth. All who knew him well 
were aware of his gleeful habit of 'ragging' over some ques- 
tion of more or less serious or perhaps only comical inter- 
est. To the end of his life he delighted in starting an argu- 
ment with me over some perfectly idiotic thing or other. 
Of course, he always out-argued me and my final resort 
would be as of old : ' Well, have it your own way ! ' Then 
we would smile, recalling the herring cf long ago. I have 
no doubt that he spends part of his time now, wherever he 
is, in this fascinating pastime of argument." 

After this fond picture Mrs. Mills's declaration that the 
boy was a joy to his parents from the day of his birth to 
that of his death will appear an obvious statement. She 



Early Boyhood Traits 45 

says he was "truthful, obedient, studious, helpful, kind- 
hearted, because it was his nature to be so. It was never 
necessai*y to train him in these qualities. He was incap- 
able of anything low or mean. ' ' The associates of his later 
years endorse these claims. It would be an absurd distor- 
tion, however, a mawkish injustice, to leave the impres- 
sion that Mills was goody-goody or sentimental, or just 
whimsically contentious. Nothing could be farther from 
the truth. There was nothing of the milksop or the molly- 
coddle about him and equally little of the eccentric or the 
perverse. His goodness never degenerated into weakness. 
His gayety and his affectionate disposition were shot 
through even in his childhood as well as in his manhood 
with a spirit of aggression, a combativeness which went 
far beyond the mere clash of wits, and which, while gener- 
ally asserting itself in worthy causes always expressed an 
individual view, a strong will and a temperament of smol- 
dering fire. 

Of boyhood manifestations, his mother says: "He was 
always keen for games and play, full of Hfe and high spirits. 
He filled the house and its surroundings with noise and 
shouts of laughter. I had to reprove him— it was the only 
thing I had to reprove him for— for his tendency to wear 
a chip on his shoulder in his mixing with boys of his own 
age. It seems to be the nature of small boys to pummel 
each other and he was no exception." 

So the first years slipped by. The family hved in these 
early years in the house which Mrs. Mills's father bought 
in 1845, shortly after his marriage. In 1889 there was an 
important change. Quincy was about five and a half years 
old when his father decided to leave Statesville and go 
into business with a friend in Richmond, Virginia. The 
experiment, however, only lasted two years; it turned out 
unfortunately. As a result, the family moved, in March, 
1 89 1, to South Boston, a small town of three or four thou- 



46 One Who Gave His Life 

sand people in the same state. They remained there three 
years until the spring of 1894, ^-^^ there we first find 
Quincy figuring as a schoolboy. He was seven and a half 
years old when he was enrolled as a pupil in the primary 
department of the South Boston graded school. He was 
a willing, even an eager learner. Already he had the facul- 
ty of exciting interest in others and winning their affection. 
He remained in the school until the spring of 1 894 when his 
parents decided to return to Statesville. He was then a 
little more than ten years old. Upon his leaving, his 
teacher wrote a note about him to his mother. It is of 
value as showing the estimate which a trained observer, 
unconnected with him by blood ties, placed upon him 
thus early, so it is inserted here: 

Dear Mrs. Mills: — You don't know how I hate to give 
Quincy up. He is such a dear nice little fellow that I shall 
miss him much. I have become very fond of him during our 
school relationship, and I think all the scholars are as sorry as 
I to see him leave. He is a perfect gentleman in manner and 
in every way. Well may you be proud of such a son. 

When you have a picture of Quincy to spare, please send 

me one. 

Sincerely yours, 

Nannie Harris. 

In South Boston, the natural bent of the boy's mind first 
asserted itself. He took to the pen, apparently by his own 
spontaneous impulse. His mother tells of it thus: "At 
this period Quincy began writing little poems and stories, 
which he would bring to me to read and talk over. I 
thought them wonderful for his age, but my praise was 
doled out sparingly and my admiration kept to myself, as 
I did not want to turn my child into a self-conscious, con- 
ceited little nuisance." It may be interjected here that 
to the day of his death Mills's total lack of self-conscious- 



Life in Statesville 47 

ness, the modesty which tempered his sense of his own 
capabiHty, was one of his most winning characteristics. 
But to return to Mrs. Mills, she goes on: "Some of these 
first efforts are among my treasures now and they are as 
precious to me as the best editorials he wrote for The Even- 
ing Sun!'' 

The new phase of life, begun with the return to States- 
ville, caused an interruption in the writing habit which was 
not resumed until young Mills was a student at the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina. Mrs. Mills explains: "The 
break was due, perhaps, to the fact that our Statesville 
home was constantly filled with relatives or friends. As 
we were never alone, there was no opportunity for the 
quiet and concentration needed for such work. Then, too, 
I had him take music lessons for two years. He liked music 
and got on famously, but perhaps he should have used the 
time in outdoor sports with other boys. I am angry with 
myself whenever my mind brings up the picture of my 
little boy perched on the piano stool, practising away, 
cheerfully and zealously — that was how he did all his 
work." Really there is no ground for reproach; Mills was 
intensely fond of music and in his later years was an 
habitual listener at the Metropolitan Opera House, or 
indeed anywhere that songbirds of passage gave opera in 
New York. He never pretended to critical judgment, but 
he had a thirst for melody, which was not altogether un- 
cultivated, and Mrs. Mills herself adds to the passage just 
quoted these words : * ' Often he was thankful for the knowl- 
edge of music that these two years gave him." 

At the same time, outdoor sports, school studies and the 
social side of life were not neglected. It was unquestion- 
ably his constant intercourse with the friends who flocked 
to the Statesville home that gave him the habit of pleasant 
relations with all sorts of people, his ready gift of conversa- 
tion and the easy unconsciousness that made him what is 



48 One Who Gave His Life 

popularly called "a good mixer." As for sport, we find 
him through his early years enjoying outdoor amusements 
of all sorts. He played at boyish games with zest and 
skill; more of this will appear as a phase of his college 
career; he loved the country. North Carolina has no 
large city, only towns of greater or less size, and all colored 
as to their ways and standards by their rural surroundings. 
Except for his two early years in Richmond, Mills's entire 
life until he came to New York was spent in the environ- 
ment of small communities. If he had something of town 
bringing up, he was almost equally a country boy, and he 
was not a city product in any degree. He had an ardent 
love of the country and down to his army days used to go 
off frequently for long woodland and meadow strolls with 
a cherished companion. As his boyhood wore on, he 
roamed far and wide through the woods of Iredell, steeping 
his nature in the beauty of the land and the intoxication of 
the free air. 

He had a considerable mechanical turn also. He was 
interested in machinery and tools. He began by making 
wooden toys for himself; later he strung telephone lines 
and built useful pieces of furniture. Among the toys he 
made were miniature cannon ; his mother still has some of 
them packed away at her home in Statesville. They are 
made of wood and mounted on cast-off wheels found about 
his grandfather Mills's farm. Like all boys he loved toy 
soldiers. During his years at Statesville, he spent much 
of his time on this farm which lay on the outskirts of the 
town. There he learned the real country life. It was a 
strong influence in his development. Concerning this 
period, his aunt, Mrs. Cowan, his father's sister, furnishes 
some characteristic recollections. 

"He was always," she writes, "a bright, happy child, 
never discontented with his lot, or wishing for other play- 



A Wonderful Playground 49 

grounds, or 'someone to play with' as is usually the burden 
of an only child's existence. When he wanted to play 
Indian, he would represent Sitting Bull, Spotted Tail or 
some other chief by turns, pitching his teepee anyivherfe. 
he found room, using chairs or anything that came handy 
to spread his tent cover over. Many are the times I re- 
member having trouble getting the chicken or turkey 
feathers tied to his sunny curls at just the right angle; 
when he looked into the mirror and they did not stand just 
right they had to be re-tied, sometimes over and over. 
Then the draping of Grandmother's big gray shawl was 
another art that was often difficult ; no Indian blanket was 
ever arranged on a warrior's shoulders with more care. 

* * Later came the soldier and sailor age when he built forts 
all around and sank bell-buoys — made of beef juice bottles 
— in the fishpond at his grandfather's; he also built war- 
ships, one of which, covered with scraps of sheet iron, with 
toy cannon mounted on the deck, was still at the old home 
after the boy had grown to manhood. This ship was at 
least four feet long, and a very good model — considering 
it to be the work of a child who had never seen a seagoing 
vessel of any kind. 

' ' Quincy had quite a following of small boys at this time, 
and he was always the captain or leader in their games. 
I remember his bringing a basket of fireworks down to 
Grandfather's one Christmas night to fire off around this 
same pond; all the children of the neighborhood gathered, 
and what a good time and grand celebration they had. 
A spark dropped into one of the baskets of 'babywakers' 
and 'devilchasers* ; one boy jumped into the midst of the 
resulting explosion to stamp out the fire and save what he 
could; but fortunately, no one was hurt while everybody 
enjoyed the excitement ; we older people laughed and were 
frightened at the same time. My own last letter from 
Quincy, written on the 4th of July, 191 8, referred to this 



50 One Who Gave His Life . 

explosion of the Christmas fireworks, or, rather, I could 
read between the lines that he was thinking of that long- 
ago fun. He wrote that they were very quiet that day, 
that it was the most quiet 4th of July he could ever remem- 
ber spending; but he added, 'We will have fireworks and 
celebration enough to pay for it — and it will not be baby- 
wakers and devilchasers.' 

"As well as I remember he never cared for hunting, 
though some of the boys of his friendship thought them- 
selves great sportsmen. One of his uncles used to offer to 
take him duckhunting down the creek, but I do not re- 
member his going, though he may have. I recall that he 
went fishing with another uncle, and seemed much pleased 
with the outings, whether they brought home fish or not. 

"Quincy was always a serious, thoughtful child, re- 
spectful to older people and kind to children; his mother 
read to him from the time he could listen, and his mind was 
stored with the best thoughts from his earliest days. 
When he was older he read good literature, never trash ; I 
have heard him say that the popular novels, generally read, 
held no attraction for him. When he first read Kipling, 
his verdict was that Kipling was coarse, but later he be- 
came very fond of him and said he just saw life as it was, 
'Each in his separate star.' 

"When he was a very small boy we used to be greatly 
amused at his quaint sayings; on one visit to his Grand- 
father's, a pet rooster deprived him of a biscuit, picking it 
out of his hand. One of the uncles never got through 
laughing over Quincy's elegant and eloquent remarks 
addressed to the rooster which ran something like this: 
'Oh ! you imp of blackness, you son of Belial, you thieving, 
dishonorable coward to take the bread out of children's 
mouths instead of scratching for an honest living ! ' This 
was when he was hardly more than an infant. 

"When my little daughter, Anna Cowan, came to us, 



Ties that Held Fast 5i 

Quincy was away at school, but he came home to see the 
first arrival in the family since his own. He was delighted 
with his new relative, and said he would be an uncle instead 
of a cousin to her; then and there he made plans for her 
future, even discussing her behavior as it should be when 
she was grown up. 

' ' Then came the college years when he was a prize stu- 
dent at the University of the State. How proud we were of 
his record! With what pleasure we followed his career, 
and through those busy year's he would take time to write 
to this baby cousin occasionally. And they were busy 
years. A man cannot take his work seriously, be editor of 
three college periodicals, correspondent for two newspapers, 
win the Phi Beta Kappa key and medals and honors in all 
his work, and not be busy. 

"After his graduation he passed out of our home life 
but for the letters and gifts that he constantly sent ; he 
never made a business or pleasure trip anywhere without 
remembering Anna Cowan. We have souvenirs from 
many cities he visited in his newspaper days. Then came 
the final letters and cards from beyond the sea, all so 
sacred and precious. I am sure the world is better for his 
passing this way." 

Miss Nannie Williams Mills, of Statesville, another 
aunt, has also contributed pleasant childhood anecdotes: 
"My memory of Quincy's visits at home," she writes, 
addressing Mrs. Mills, "rarely goes back to when my little 
brother, Lee, was living, though I know Quincy was then 
sometimes at home. I remember sending Allen Caldwell, 
the eldest of the Rev. Dallas Caldwell's boys, up to your 
house to bring Quincy down home, as he was too small to 
come alone. Those boys — there were three of them — were 
a rough and tumble lot, and with Hugh, Lee and Quincy 
would have blood-curdling Indian fights, with handmade 



52 One Who Gave His Life 

wooden weapons, bows and arrows, daggers and so on. 
Sometimes I feared they would really hurt each other, but 
Quincy, the youngest of the gang, always escaped injury 
and enjoyed it as much as any. 

"It was after the death of Lee that I had Quincy with 
me so much. It must have helped me to bear that first 
real trouble, for I had the care of him just as I had had of 
Lee, and loved to stay out in the open to entertain him. I 
remember taking Quincy to the meadow to play in the little 
stream which fed the two fishponds; this was such a 
shallow stream that it was fine for him to wade in, but it 
was slippery, and on one occasion he was splashing along, 
having the best of times when his feet slipped and down 
in mud and water he went. He didn't mind the ducking, 
but he hadn't any dry clothes at our house and could not 
go home in these. So I hunted for some of Lee's which he 
had when about seven years old ; but when I had Quincy 
dressed the trousers would not meet round the waist, he 
was such a fat, round youngster, so we helped out the 
bands with string in each buttonhole and soon had him 
back at play. I have always thought that Quincy must 
have been a very much better developed child at seven 
than Lee was, as this incident shows. 

"One of the pleasures Quincy most enjoyed was playing 
circus. After each circus that visited town we had a per- 
fect wave of trapeze performances in the old barn or on a 
rope trapeze hung from a big oak tree just in front of it. 
Quincy would bring Rob Rickert, Oscar Rousseau and 
Allen Mills down home with him and these four would 
perform daring feats, hanging by their feet, head down, 
being their most wonderful act. The boys would take 
turns performing in this way, often having to boost each 
other up until they became expert enough to hold on un- 
aided. One day when such a show was in progress, some- 
thing else popped into Quincy's active mind, and off the 



Katie's Funeral 53 

first three actors went to the pond, leaving poor Allen 
hanging head downward. Allen wasn't very expert, the 
ground beneath was stony and some inches out of his 
reach, therefore when he realized that he had been deserted 
he set up a howl that reached me, indoors, but not the 
boys. I went to the rescue, finding a very red-faced little 
boy, not from anger, however, but from his topsy-turvy 
position. But as soon as I released him from his uncom- 
fortable plight he ran off to join the others, and there was 
no further disturbance. 

' ' The pond was, perhaps, the greatest delight of all to 
Quincy at Grandpa's. It afforded all sorts of sports, from 
wading and swimming in summer and skating and sliding 
in winter to sea-fights all the year round. Quincy's mind 
was well stored with stories from history and fiction of 
naval battles and deeds of piracy, and many such fights 
as that of the Constitution and Guerriere and the Monitor 
and Merrimac were reenacted on the peaceful waters of 
our pond. Quincy would work for days with hammer, 
nails, old planks and tin sheathing, constructing gun boats; 
he had them from three feet in length down to only a few 
inches. These finished, he and his companies would wade 
out and anchor a Monitor far out upon the pond, then 
place toy cannon upon the banks and open battle on 
the boat. It was interesting to watch, for the cannon were 
often loaded with real powder and made a realistic imita- 
tion of the genuine thing. I used to wonder if Quincy 
would go into the navy when he grew up, as all naval 
affairs were so fascinating to him in early boyhood, and 
when he went to Plattsburg I reminded him of those former 
pleasures. 

' ' Well I remember Katie's funeral. Katie was the black 
and white spotted cat that Ed. Carlton shot. Quincy was 
deeply grieved, and wanted to bury Katie in some place 
where the grave would be undisturbed. It was decided 



54 One Who Gave His Life 

that Grandpa's place was permanent enough to serve the 
purpose and a large pasteboard box served as a coffin in 
which Katie's body lay in state overnight on the back 
piazza of your house. Next morning you and Quincy 
brought the remains down home, and great masses of vio- 
lets both in the box and to put on the grave. We three 
selected a suitable spot and proceeded to dig the grave 
ourselves. It was a very real trouble to Quincy, and be- 
tween sobs he worked until his task was completed. But 
during the burial a negro boy who was working about the 
lot passed by, and, seeing the flowers, was so amused that 
he forgot all decorum and laughed aloud, saying to Forney, 
'Good Lawd, Mistah Forney, dat woman done put blos- 
soms on dat cat's grave ! ' Quincy stopped in the midst of 
his last bit of smoothing up the mound, and just pelted 
Jim with stones for his ill-timed levity. I was both scan- 
dalized and tickled, but dared not let Quincy know, as it 
would hurt his feelings. Never since have I thought of this 
incident without a smile, for Quincy's quick transition 
from grief to rage was so ridiculous and so pathetic. 

"When I think back on Quincy's playing I remember 
that he was always the leader, and his boy friends willing- 
ly followed, rarely ever disagreeing over their games. I 
never knew Quincy and those boys, his daily companions, 
to fall out and fight over anything, down home. If any- 
thing didn't go to please him, he commanded the boys to 
do differently, and they yielded. One day I chanced to go 
into our dining room just in time to see Quincy give Allen 
Mills a sharp box on the ear. I enquired the reason for 
such treatment of a guest, and Quincy answered in a digni- 
fied tone that Allen was meddling with some ornament I 
had forbidden the boys to touch. I couldn't do other 
than let the case rest as Quincy had arbitrated it. 
Allen took the reproof without resenting it, as far as I 
observed." 



Dream of Truth 55 

Among the papers which Mills has left are the sketches 
or first drafts of several short stories. He had not given 
any great time or effort to this sort of writing. The pieces 
are mere experiments, never fully elaborated and showing 
no sign that he ever tried to publish them. They afford 
some interesting light, however, upon the inner workings 
of his mind. One of these, which he entitled When Dreams 
Come True, and which he has himself marked as resembling 
Stevenson's Will of the Mill, has its scene undoubtedly 
upon this land of his grandfather's as recalled by his own 
adult memory. In the person of the hero of the tale he 
appears first "walking down a narrow lane, thickly starred 
on either side with daisies." He completes the picture: 
"Before him the way dropped precipitously into a nar- 
row valley, at the bottom of which his eye caught the clear 
waters of a shallow brook flashing in the sunlight. Beyond 
it the land rose steeply to the opposite hilltop, which was 
crested with wood. The rolling fields around, where they 
were not luxuriant with corn, were bright with daisies, 
like the lane." 

He credits his hero with that impression, which many peo- 
ple experience, of the scene and the action of the moment 
being a revival of something in his past. It has an in- 
timacy that haunts yet eludes him. As he goes on down 
the path he comes upon an old man and a little boy. They 
are on opposite sides of the brook, which is so narrow that 
he could have leaped across it with ease. "The child, 
bareheaded, with towsled locks, shining in the bright light, 
stooped over the water's edge, absorbed in floating a tiny 
canoe, whittled from an elder stalk. The old man stood 
regarding him earnestly, his bony hands folded before him 
over the handle of a staff, on which he leaned." The old 
man's beard was silvery white, but his features were hid- 
den by the brim of a soft black hat. He was as concen- 
trated upon the child's actions as the child was upon his 



56 One Who Gave His Life 

boat. He exclaims: "My boy, I would give all I possess 
to be just you and play again in the stream." 

The boy lifts his face and the hero recognizes himself of 
bygone years. The boy sees it too, and exclaims, ' ' Why, I am 
you." The old man turns; he also is the same being in 
another phase. "Who am I?" cries out the hero in his 
prime. "You are our dreams come true," the others 
reply. 

It is a curious bit of mysticism, expressing an undercur- 
rent in Mills's nature. It indicates clearly the effect of 
his countryside experiences not only on the pictorial 
equipment of his mind but on the current of his musings 
as to the nature and meaning of life. 

But besides the contemplative effects of his days on his 
grandfather's farm, this time gave great opportunity for 
his love of soldiering. He and his boy companions formed 
an army of the fancy and they campaigned all over the 
fields and hills and through the woods and valleys. They 
fought battles, made long marches and built forts upon the 
high ridges. His liking for things military ran beyond the 
ordinary adolescent love of glitter and noise. He planned 
strategic movements both with his tin warriors and with 
his comrades and fought them in an odd spirit of reality. 
His parents talked with him in his fourteenth or fifteenth 
year of entering the Academy at West Point. There was 
good reason to think he could secure the appointment from 
his home district. He was quite clear, however, that he 
would not like the monotonous routine of soldiering in 
time of peace. It was the stern business of real war that 
appealed to his eager and idealistic nature and not the 
formalism nor yet the showy, ornamental side of the mar- 
tial career. 

Throughout the entire boyhood period his love of books 
and their contents was an all pervading influence. In the 
Statesville epoch it had a special aspect, which may best 



First Glimpses of Politics 57 

be described in the words of Mrs. Mills. " My mother 
lost her sight when Quincy was a small boy," she 
writes, "and all my spare time thereafter was given to 
her. Every day I read aloud the state and national poli- 
tical happenings and such news of foreign governments 
as was published in the Southern papers. During the ses- 
sions of the State Legislature she wanted to hear the daily 
proceedings of that body. 

' ' Interest in politics is part of the Scotch-Irish birthright. 
In our section of the South, political discussion is carried 
on wherever men meet, and, often, the women are as 
keenly interested as the men. This was always the case in 
our family. My aunt, Mrs. S. A. Sharpe, my mother's 
sister, though now almost ninety-two years old, I found, 
during a stay that I made with her in StatesviUe last winter 
(1919-20), still occupied her mind to a large extent with 
public affairs. It had been so all her life. My mother, too, 
had this racial trait in an unusual degree, and the fact that 
my father had been in the thick of political activity in 
our part of the State intensified her interest. 

' ' No effort was ever made to draw Quincy's attention to 
our political readings, but he could not help hearing some 
of them or the conversation that naturally was based on 
them. We soon found that he was listening keenly, ab- 
sorbing much information and forming political opinions. 
It came naturally to him. It was part of his spiritual 
inheritance. 

"At night, the reading aloud was continued, but it took 
an entirely different direction. The lamplight hours were 
devoted to fiction, and at Quincy's urgent dictation every 
story of the Revolutionary period that could be found had 
first choice. Among them were many old romances by 
Kennedy of Maryland and Simms of South Carolina, which 
are hardly known to-day, except perhaps to a few in their 
own section. My mother had enjoyed reading them in hei 



58 One Who Gave His Life 

girlhood and her grandson's delight in hearing them re- 
vived her pleasure. She was a lifelong lover of Scott, too, 
and Scott we always fell back upon when the newer books 
seemed insipid. Poe, Hawthorne, Dickens, Bulwer, Victor 
Hugo, George Eliot, Stevenson, Mark Twain, Conan 
Doyle — his Refugees was a great favorite — and numerous 
others yielded us many happy nights. 

"Another ancient book we enjoyed that was an old 
friend of my mother's was Judge Thompson's Green Moun- 
tain Boys, published in 1840. This old romance of Revolu- 
tionary days was widely popular in our section, and many 
wellworn copies were owned in our town and county. On 
the surface, it seems odd that a book written by a Ver- 
monter and dealing with the exploits of Northern soldiers 
should have penetrated the South and gained lasting 
favor. The explanation is that it tells the story of the New 
England Scotch- Irishmen who shared our fight for inde- 
pendence, and the bond of race was there to awaken our 
interest and sympathy. This book still has readers in the 
South and has not been forgotten here in New York, for 
the Central Library now has in its circulating department 
a copy showing signs of use. 

"These nightly revels in the world of imagination went 
on for years. They were of all seasons, though naturally 
the long winter darkness gave the fullest opportunity. I 
wish I had the power to convey the picture of our South- 
ern home, the wide open fireplace, the old-fashioned fur- 
nishings, my blind mother and my little son listening 
eagerly, he with his pet cat on his knees — he was such a 
boy for pets! It may be that Quincy became surfeited 
with fiction during these years, for he cared little for it 
after reaching manhood. In the latter part of his life 
Mrs. Burnett and Margaret Deland were the only novel- 
ists for whom he retained a liking ; their books he never 
failed to read as they came from the press. 



Going to School 59 

"I inherited from my father the love of reading aloud 
and his power to keep it up for hours without tiring. Many- 
times I have been thankful that, since I had to be eyes for 
my mother, this gift was mine. In looking back over my 
life it is easy now to see the purpose in the gift. It was 
intended to Hghten the affliction of my mother and it con- 
tributed to the mental development of my son." 

Parallel with this home life of love and cultivation, 
Quincy Mills had another life, the precursor of his career 
as a man. The boy going to school enters upon the first 
stage of that duaHty of interest which, at least until these 
modern days, was the most marked differentiation of the 
masculine destiny. We have already had a glimpse of 
Quincy Mills as a schoolboy of ten at South Boston. He 
went to school in Statesville for five years from 1894 to 
1899 and there he always led his classes, a wiUing student 
whom it was never necessary to watch or to drive. There 
is but one harsh memory of this time. He had a clash with 
one of the teachers of the Statesville graded school. It 
was when he was about twelve years old ; he complained of 
injustice and expressed unwillingness to remain in the 
school. His mother looked into the charge and satisfied 
herself that there was ground for it. She therefore re- 
moved him to a private school. "The change," she ex- 
plains, ' ' was absolutely necessary ; he could not advance un- 
der the smart of unfair treatment ; you had to earn his liking 
and respect if you wanted him to work with or for you." 

He seems to have had two teachers who had a great 
effect upon him and upon whom he made a marked im- 
pression, Mrs. Frances Tunstall Dowd and Miss Laura 
Lazenby. Both ladies have written their recollections of 
him for use in this book. 

"It was a pleasure to teach Quincy Mills," Mrs. Dowd 
writes; "his intense interest in his studies was an in- 



6o One Who Gave His Life 

spiration to the teachers. He was always amiable to his 
fellow pupils and his wonderful consideration for older 
people always impressed me. An admirable trait was his 
love and admiration for his mother. He was thorough in 
work and never sought to shirk a duty. He was specially 
interested in Latin and had one of the brightest minds 
that I ever taught." 

Miss Lazenby contributes several illuminating sketches 
both of the boy and of the atmosphere in which he grew 
up. She writes : 

"A bright -faced boy, one of fifty in a crowded 
schoolroom of the fourth grade, stands out prominently 
in the memory of his teacher, not so much because of 
the things he said or did, but from the abiding feelings 
created by his personality. There had been foundation 
building-in for good; it was borne in upon the observer 
that the silent work at home had been done on the prin- 
ciple that ' what we make a child love and desire we make 
him learn.' 

"He was an honorable 'trusty.' He sat in a back seat, 
but at every opportunity he was at his teacher's side to 
talk of interesting incidents of the school day or of local 
events, humorous occurrences generally. Often there was 
a vein of sly mischief in the chatter. He was a real boy, 
full of life, yet he had such a clean-cut, sensible attitude 
toward the classroom work that he carried cheeriness even 
into routine drudgery. He went over much of his lessons 
with his mother and frequently shared the benefit of her 
teaching with his companions. Even at his early age he 
showed a fine appreciation of books. His love of the best 
reading was characteristic, a product of his home guidance. 

"He was an only child, a great misfortune to him, his 
mother thought, but he learned early to bear himself well 



A Radiant Memory 6i 

with other children. He knew how to give and take. But 
he always seemed more at ease and happier with grown-up 
people. 

"A walk with Quincy and his mother one afternoon in 
October is a treasured memory of mine. To one who 
knows October in the Piedmont section of North CaroUna 
not much need be said of the picture or the atmosphere. 
His ancestors were early settlers here and owned much of 
the eastern and middle portions of this town (Statesville). 
A httle spring bubbled up from a hillside and the rill of 
crystal drops had furrowed a tiny, beautiful channel to- 
ward the far-off ocean. For more than a mile we followed 
its windings. We rejoiced in its growing motion, we noted 
the erosion of its banks, we gathered flowers and watched 
the gay, winged Hfe along its borders. We came to his 
grandfather's fishpond. We gathered material for future 
study. When I think of it, I am reminded of Mrs. He- 
mans's lines: 

' ' Child of the earth ! Oh, lift thy glance 
To yon bright firmament's expanse, 
The glories of its realms explore 
And gaze and wonder and adore. 

"Only, of course, it was not the glories of the firmament 
we were enjoying but the beauties of the earth. But the 
ecstatic feeling was the same. Quincy's face and spirit, 
so radiant with happiness in contact with nature and na- 
ture's God, is a gracious recollection to his boyhood teacher. 
I love to think that now, unhampered by earthly limita- 
tions, he has a perfect enjoyment of the glories of the uni- 
verse, not only in creation and preservation but in re- 
demption." 

In September, 1899 — the day was the 23rd or 24th— 
Quincy entered the preparatory school at Oak Ridge, 



62 One Who Gave His Life 

North Carolina. He spent but one year there, completing 
the two years' course in that time and making an average 
of 99 5/16 in his studies; his diploma, qualifying for 
entrance into the University of North Carolina, was re- 
ceived in May, 1900. Oak Ridge itself is a tiny village. 
There is just the group of school buildings with a few stores 
and homes. Attendance there carried with it no change in 
the small town surroundings amid which Mills's youth was 
passed. The experience, however, must have had a very 
great effect on his character. It will be gathered that he 
was somewhat a homebound child down to this change. 
Here he was thrown into an entirely different medium. 
He was grouped with boys of his own age. He had to live 
with them, adapt himself to them and win their good opin- 
ion and friendship. In short, this was his first apprentice- 
ship in the trade of being a man, in which he grew up a 
master craftsman. 

At the time of his graduation from this school, he was 
only sixteen years of age. He looked even younger, a 
mere child; so his parents decided it would be best for him 
to postpone entering college. He spent the winter of 1900- 
190 1 at home in Statesville, with the intention of entering 
at Chapel Hill in the fall of the latter year. But then 
came the first serious setback of his career. In June, 1901 , 
he fell ill with typhoid fever and was long in recovering. 
When the time came for registration at the University in 
September, he was still unable to sit up for more than half 
an hour at a time, and he had to be lifted from his bed to a 
chair and back again. Not until the mid-winter of 190 1-2 
did he gain siifficient strength to resume a normal life. 
He then went to Florida to visit the family of Mr. Hugh 
Mills, his father's brother, and he made a stay of from two 
to three months. 

The visit was marked by a touch of romance ; he was 
now eighteen years old, the age of sentiment. His mother 



Romance of a Sonnet 63 

writes of this episode: "Some time before this he had been 
smitten with the charms of an unusually pretty and viva- 
cious girl friend of about his own age, the 'L.' to 
whom he wrote an early poem. But when he returned 
from his trip far south, he was engaged to a Florida lass, 
who was, however, of North CaroHna ancestry, a descen- 
dant of one of the Mecklenburg ' Signers. ' She would have 
made him an admirable wife, and many times I have re- 
gretted that the incHnation grew cold, that he did not 
marry her on the completion of his studies as he fully in- 
tended to do when he entered college. But I know that 
love is not the growth of human will. There is no blame to 
be ascribed for the natural indecision of youth." 

The poem "To L." is a sonnet. Though written and 
printed in Yackety- Yack, the University year book, in 1906, 
it obviously fits in here. It reads: 

To L . 



Sweetheart, I mourn that with a face so fair 
A heart so cold, so pitiless, should mate, 
That doth delight to scorn a lover's prayer 
And comfort finds with mocking at his fate. 
When you encourage with your laughing eyes. 
And truant locks lure on, o'er rosy cheecks, 
My hope leaps high — alas, how soon it dies 
When confirmation in your heart it seeks. 
Your sweet-arched lips that promise to caress. 
If only I take courage to go on, 
Lose in a trice their tempting tenderness. 
And with your frown my day-dreams all are gone; 
Ever my fate thy glorious self to see, 
My hopes for crowns to wear but mockery. 

Even at this early period the boy had developed some 
oddities of incHnation, some pecuHarities of taste which 
remained with him in manhood. For instance, he was 



64 One Who Gave His Life 

very fond of purple. At the University, he was delegated 
in his freshman year to choose the colors for his class. 
He selected purple and white. When, later, he had to 
drop a year on account of illness, he expressed to his 
mother a wistful regret for the loss of his colors. His love 
for thistles was not strange considering his ancestry. 
There was a Scottish tinge to his surroundings. The fam- 
ily, the community, had a filial affection for Scotland; 
many old Scottish words and phrases were used by his 
grandmother and other Statesville residents. Burns and 
Scott were favorite poets. Mrs, Mills records that her 
father, as she was told by those who knew him, fre- 
quently recited passages from both, to the great pleasure 
of his hearers. 

More curious was young Quincy's fancy for the cactus. 
He so liked this bizarre plant that he made a study of it in 
his school days and a collection of varieties of it. Akin to 
this taste, perhaps, was his interest in gargoyles. He 
studied them through pictures in books all through his 
life and we find him attracted by specimens he saw during 
his war days in France. His mother says : ' ' We had an old 
copy of W. S. Gilbert's Bab Ballads illustrated by the 
author with queer, gargoylish pictures which caught and 
held Quincy's fancy when a tiny boy. The ballads had to 
be read over and over and were successful rivals of the 
Mother Goose jingles. In after years the Gilbert and Sulli- 
van operas were prime favorites, and his liking for the 
Ballads persisted to the end." 

In fact he had a certain love of the grotesque and it is 
not strange that the art of the Spaniard, Goya, held a 
strong fascination for him, although he placed Rembrandt 
at the head of the list of the painters of all time. He also 
had a liking for Egyptian art and spent much time over 
curios from the land of the Nile in museums and upon 
illustrations of them in books. This interest, however, 



For America 65 

indicated no general fancy for trinkets. He positively dis- 
liked jewelry of all sorts and could not be induced to wear 
a ring or a scarf pin. The one exception was the ring en- 
graved with Masonic emblems which he bought a short 
time before sailing for the battlefront, and the purpose in 
wearing this was not that of personal adornment. 

Summing up the period of the childhood and early 
youth of her son, Mrs. Mills thus comments: 

"Quincy's sense of duty, his willingness to take up the 
responsibilities of life developed when his years were few. 
In fact, he must have had these qualities always and the 
family circumstances intensified them. His contempt for 
easy self-indulgence was largely due to the self-denial he 
had to practice in childhood. Poverty is a fine discipline, 
and one thing it surely does is draw closer the family ties 
when parent and child have struggled with it together. 

"I have never known any other child who had Quincy's 
intense patriotism. His country's history, her welfare 
were matters of thought with him at an early age. He was 
remarkable in this respect. Of him it could be said that 
he never saw his country's flag without an up-welling of 
emotion. In later life, long before the storm of 19 14 broke 
upon the world, America's defenseless condition, the need 
to make ready for emergencies, made him uneasy for the 
future. 

' ' Often he used to rally me on the way I had required his 
strict attendance at Sunday school and church services, 
until he was well on in his 'teens,' pretending he had been a 
real martyr. He always ended the tirade by declaring that 
when he had children of his own, they should have the 
same training. In this, he was much like his great-grand- 
father McKee and his grandfather Sharpe, who were never 
church members but required their families and servants 
to attend religious services, and gave generously to church 
5 



66 One Who Gave His Life 

support. In the old days in the South, every church had 
a gallery built for the use of the blacks." 

Quincy attended services at the Trinity Chiu-ch in 
Statesville, where he was baptized, regularly until he left 
home for college. He formed a great affection for the 
beautiful Episcopal ritual, which he never lost although 
he ceased to be a regular church attendant after he came 
to New York. Of his attitude in this regard, his mother 
writes : 

"While Quincy was not religious in the orthodox way, 
he lived his religion. He was unselfish, just, simple, brave, 
kind, patriotic, frank, modest, sincere, loyal. This is not 
the blind enthusiasm of a mother's affection for her only 
and lost child. It is as careful an estimate as I am capable 
of making of him after thirty-three years of companionship. 
It was my happiness to watch his mind and character 
develop, and, after caring for his dependent years, to have 
the privilege in my turn of leaning on him for guidance 
and help. For his high, ideal qualities were balanced by a 
great fund of common sense and good judgment that kept 
his feet on the earth and adjusted him safely to everyday 
life. 

' ' There was plenty of temper to add spice to his char- 
acter. If his wrath was excited by meanness or injustice, 
he exploded with a force that swept away all conventions 
and restrictions. His tongue was even keener than his 
pen. He could stab to the quick with it. He could be 
merciless in the use of this rapierlike power of speech, 
but he never turned it against an opponent unless he felt 
the chastisement was needed and deserved. It is my belief 
that Sidney Lanier's poem. Remonstrance, expresses his 
views on the higher subjects of thought better than any 
words I could supply." 



CHAPTER III 

College Days at Chapel Hill, N. C. — An Earnest Student Who Was 
"One of the Boys" — Footing it Through the Blue Ridge — 
Verse Grave and Gay. 

The delay of a year in Mills's entrance upon college life, 
owing to his typhoid attack, was a sore trial both to him 
and to his family. The retarding of his career was a grief, 
and financial difficulties were increased. He finally 
registered at Chapel Hill on September 8, 1902, and took 
up residence at the University. 

The University of North Carolina first opened its doors 
in 1795. We have already seen Mills's claims for it of 
historical primacy. It possesses a fine tradition of educa- 
tional standards and democratic ideals. The buildings are 
beautifully situated amid a park of several hundred acres. 
The policy of the trustees has been always to restrict the 
growth of the town of Chapel Hill, the seat of the institu- 
tion, so that the student life flows amid surroundings 
simple and tranquil with the remote spirit of the country. 
The region is lovely, the University buildings are vener- 
able. The atmosphere is untroubled; it invites study 
and reflection ; it is well fitted for the young man who takes 
his work seriously — dreadfully dull, it may be added, for 
those who are in search of mere amusement or excitement. 
The spirit of the place, as it impressed itself upon Mills 
finds utterance in some verses which he wrote while an 
undergraduate, and which were printed in the University 
Magazine: 

67 



68 One Who Gave His Life 

The Well. 

Out of cool depths thy waters rise 

The grind's or athlete's thirst to drown; 

So thy fair form requites our eyes 

For the rude buildings that about thee frown ; 

Thy dome and pillars full of grace 

Relieve the harshness of the place 

And form the campus' crown. 

There gathered in our leisure hours 

The flight of time we little heed ; 

Thy font and fellowship are ours, 

Our spirits rise, the moments speed ; 

The laugh rings loud, the jests pass 'round, 

The campus echoes with the sound, 

All hearts from care are freed. 

When to the larger life we pass. 

Where other joys and cares abound, 

Though we are lost within the mass. 

Our happiest thoughts in thee'll be found; 

The mighty oaks, the deep-toned bell. 

The sun-flecked campus that we loved so well, 

Our memories cluster 'round. 

Should we drink deep Misfortune's cup. 
Our forms lie racked with sickness' pain. 
Old well, thy picture will come up 
To soothe again a tortured brain ; 
Faintly we'll hear the laughter ring, 
Snatches of songs we used to sing, 
Thy waters flow again. 

Then, when the years have passed away. 
One last draught we will drink, old well, 
A class, though thinned, some of us gray. 
As we bid thee a fond farewell; 
About thy font we'll stand once more, 
Recall the jests of the days of yore, 
And give the old class yell. 



Foremost in Work and Play 69 

Mills entered with all his heart into the life of the Uni- 
versity. He was a leading figure in every sphere of its 
activities. He was an eager and successful student, a 
leader in sports, in the forefront of collegiate literary 
pursuits. He made friends in the teaching body and of 
classmates. His career was full of success and happiness. 
From it, he retained a devoted love for the University and 
he left behind him none but cordial memories. Recalling 
his student days in after years, he said that four of his 
professors, those in chemistry, mathematics, Greek and 
English, had urged him to specialize in their respective 
subjects, as he had unusual gifts for them. Yet he came 
away without a trace of pedantry and free from conceit; 
it was the humorous and not the complimentary aspect 
of these tributes to his versatile powers that appealed to 
him. He was deeply in harmony with the tone of the 
place. His personality assimilated itself to the grave, 
scholastic atmosphere; the wealth of years and memories 
appealed to the deeper and more poetic side of his nature. 
In another copy of verses, written and published while 
he was a student, his sentiments of affection and venera- 
tion find voice: 

To THE College Bell. 

When with the twilight's gathering gloom 
Thy clear deep tones float through my room, 

O faithful college bell, 
Then slips my mind from all things near 
To dream of things of yester-year 

And with fond fancies dwell. 

Before my eyes pass shadowy forms 
Of mighty men who through the storms 

Of civil strife and hate 
Gave to their state all that was theirs, 



70 One Who Gave His Life 

Both goods and blood, and without fears 
Were proud to share her fate. 

They trod this campus which I tread, 
Heard thy pure notes swell overhead 

To call to them each day ; 
From this same fountain did they drink 
The strength to nerve them not to shrink 

When duty showed the way. 

Old bell, may each full mellow note 
That wells from thy pulsating throat 

Remind me of these men ; 
That while I now prepare for life 
My aim may be throughout its strife 

To be as they have been. 

The four years he spent at Chapel Hill were crowded 
with activities. Perhaps there is no better way of giving a 
concrete idea of these than by copying here from the 
"Seniors' Individual Pictures" section of Yackety-Yack 
(the very handsome and elaborate year book of the Uni- 
versity) for 1907, therecord which accompanies his portrait : 

MILLS, QUINCY SHARPE. 
Statesville, N. C. 

Yes; I write verses now and then. 

Age, 23; weight 125; height, 5 feet, yj^ inches; Di. Society; 
Phi Beta Kappa; Odd Number Club; Modern Literature Club; 
Press Association; Magazine Editor (2, 3); winner Fiction 
Medal (2); Magazine Prize (2, 3); Yackety-Yack Editor (3, 
4); Editor-in-Chief, Tar Heel (4); Buncombe County Club; 
Vice-President Class (i); Secretary Class (3); Reader Last 
Will and Testament Class (4); Secretary and Treasurer 
Modern Literature Club ; Tennis Association ; Captain Tennis 
Team; N. C. Club; Y. M. C. A. ; Winner Racket Tournament 
(4) ; Licentiate in French; Journalism. 

"Q. S." 



In Comic Vein 71 

A small but weighty parcel of literary accomplishments and 
sarcasm. His poetical inclinations do not, however, keep him 
from being numbered as "one of the boys." Another one who 
loves to argue with Horace on Ethics. That he is a good 
student is shown by his Phi Beta Kappa Key and he has 
worthily succeeded " Vic " Stephenson in editing the Tar Heel. 

Horace was Professor Henry Horace Williams of the 
chair of Philosophy, naturally a focus of argument. The 
"Di." was the Dialectic Literary Society, one of the two 
leading student organizations of the University. It was 
founded on the theory that "a college finds its best repre- 
sentation, not in the work of the professor, but in the work 
of the student." It defines its objects as being "to en- 
courage honest effort in debating and to instill a spirit of 
true democracy into the hearts of her members." Mills 
was a very active member. He was elected to represent 
the society on the Board of Editors of Yackety-Yack, 
both in 1906 and 1907 and to the issues for both years he 
contributed verses and prose matter. Some of the former 
have been given already. Here are a couple from the 1907 
book in lighter vein : 

The Maskers. 

Laughter light-hearted from minds untasked, 

The maze of the dance around me. 
And forms that are fair with faces masked 

In carnival guise surround me ; 
The touch of a hand in the mystic ring. 
Of a waist — then a lip — what matter? 
My senses whirl with the song they sing 
In time with their footsteps' patter — 
"To-day is good, to-day is bright, 
For to-morrow what care we ? 
Enjoy the present, it is youth's right — 
Forget life and be free ! ' ' 



72 One Who Gave His Life 

A Sonnet to T — C — . 

Oh, Thomas Cat ! with midnight howls lugubrious 

That rend the sessions of my sweet repose 
Your frenzied interjections blasphemous 

Set night aghast, electrify my doze. 
Safe sconced upon the fence, in eldritch screech 

Or wild demoniac yowl you revel ; 
Your caterwauls ring loud enough to reach 

The awestruck moon, or even shame the devil, 
How His Satanic Majesty must grudge 

Your language phosphorescent, that doth make 
My hair stand straight — nay, Thomas, I must judge 

You his own mortgaged subject, doomed to bake. 
Ah, Thomas, could you only talk like us 
With what exquisite gusto you would cuss ! 

Of the prose contributions, How It Looked to Hi, which 
appeared in 1906, is a dialect sketch of an old farmer, 
whose boy wanted to enter the University, making a visit 
there himself to see what it was like. The skit, written in 
true college vein "to please the boys, " is full of local gags. 
The old man describes the Campus. As he saw it, it was 
"a tarnal big grove all split up with paths, an' with big 
buildin's scattered 'bout all over it." Though "it wuz 
purty nigh nine o'clock, he wandered about for half an 
hour without seein' nobody but a few stragglin' fellers 
that looked half asleep an' a couple uv fool collie dogs that 
kepa-tearin' up an' down a-yelpin' like all nation, a-chasin' 
uv buzzards' shadders." However, he presently strayed 
into a building and a room where "a mournful lookin' 
man wuz a-leanin' 'gainst a table a-talkin' to 'em in a dole- 
ful voice." Presently "Hi" asked one of the fifty or so 
listeners what the man was talking about and the answer 
was "Si Kollergy, " so he concluded that "Si" must be 
dead and they were mourning him. Soon he realized 



Literary Apprenticeship 73 

that the sad man was crazed with grief, for he asked such 
questions as : 

"Why don't a cat have wings?" 

"Which comes first, the hen 'r the egg?" 

"Why can't you wear your right glove on your left 
hand?" 

The next morning, "Hi" concludes: "I tuk Sam over 
tew the big clearin' an' I set him tew plowin' a furrer. 
An' he's plowin' yit, fer my mind's made up!" 

In the 1907 edition. Mills has again a comic sketch, 
The Mystery. This time it is a sleeping car adventure 
in which the inevitable pretty girl allows one of her stock- 
ings to drift over to the keeping of the handsome young 
college man, in company with a blanket which the porter 
obtains from her berth. Her attempt at recovery from the 
young college man's baggage leads to unwarranted sus- 
picion of her honesty. The journey's end brings, introduc- 
tions, explanations and the wedding cake. It is typical 
beginner's fiction ; Mills was feeling his way. 

Besides Yackety Yack, Mills gave much of his energy 
to the publications of the University Press Association. 
In 1906 he was a member of the Board of the University 
Magazine, a monthly publication ; in 1907, he was editor- 
in-chief of the Tar Heel, a weekly newspaper, from 
which one of his editorials has already been quoted. He 
was, besides, during his college years correspondent for 
the Charlotte Observer and the Richmond Times-Despatch. 

His intellectual activities did not pass without the usual 
campus sarcasm. In Drags, a collection of squibs at the 
expense of the year's graduates, in the 1907 Yackety-Yack, 
the " MonopoHstic Triumvirate of Literature" is made up 
of "'Squincy' Mills, 'Prof.' Hughes and 'Ray' Logan." 
His mental combativeness is noted On the Bulletin 
Board, thus: "The Butting Club will meet tonight at 
the usual hour— Q. S. Mills, President." 



74 One Who Gave His Life 

Election as editor-in-chief of the Tar Heel is a distinc- 
tion reserved for Seniors. It is the highest literary honor 
attainable at Chapel Hill. In Mills's case it both deter- 
mined his career in life and came to him as the result of a 
natural propensity for writing. He himself said always 
that it sent him into journalism ; but the trend was there 
before the Tar Heel days. His studies in English under 
Professor Edward Kidder Graham were his especial 
delight and soon after entering college he began to produce 
stories and poems that gave him a reputation for literary 
ability with the faculty and among his fellow students. 
He came to the decision to make literature and journal- 
ism his career, he told his mother, alone in the Tar Heel 
editorial room in the winter of 1906-7 without consulting 
anyone. At the same time he made up his mind to come 
to New York in search of a fair opening. 

Besides his work in English, Mills enjoyed especially his 
courses in history with Professor Kemp Plummer Battle, 
LL.D., and in philosophy with Professor Williams. He 
considered that these three men. Professors Graham, 
Battle and Williams were profound influences in his life. 
Battle and Graham appealed strongly to his heart. 
Williams stirred his idealism and aroused his mind as did 
no one else until he joined the editorial staff of The Evening 
Sun. Of the three. Professor WilHams is to-day the only 
survivor. Professor Graham became President of the 
University. He and Mills maintained an intimate friend- 
ship. How close it was may be judged from the following 
letter : 

President's Office 
University of North Carolina 
Chapel Hill, N. C. 
March 20, 1915. 

Dear Mills : I have just seen in the paper that you have 
had a boost on the Sun. I am certainly glad to hear of it. I 



A Collegiate Friendship 75 

haven't heard any more pleasant news for many a day. It 
will give you every possible chance, I should think, to go even 
higher, and I have every sort of confidence that you will. 

I wish you would take a day off on the twenty-first of April 
and come down to my installation as President. If I could have 
about a dozen of you fellows that I used to teach — or I'll make 
it two dozen — I would be willing to let all the college presi- 
dents and "stuffed prophets" go somewhere else, and we 
would have a real good time just among ourselves; but, of 
course, one cannot arrange things as one would like. 

I wish you would come, or, if you can't come then, pick out 
some time when you can and let me know. 

Sincerely yours, 

Edward K. Graham. 

The boost Mills had had was his transfer from the re- 
portorial to the editorial staff of The Evening Sun. Once 
again reaching into the future, we find that this friendship 
was a lasting one : 

Chapel Hill, N. C, March 7, 191 8. 

Dear Quincy : I enjoyed one of your letters in The Evening 
Sun very much indeed and am going to begin taking The Sun 
so as to get hold of all of them that you write. I wish that you 
would write one to me directly or to the editor of The Alumni 
Review for publication there. You know the sort of thing we 
want, of course. I hope to get enough of this material from 
Carolina men at the front to publish in the form of a Carolina 
book at the end of the war, or even during the war. . . . 

The University has so far stood up well under the shock of 
the war. We have had big losses, of course, but there has 
been no panic or uneasiness. I feel that so far everything has 
gone just as it should have gone. 

With every good wish. 

Faithfully yours, 

Edward K. Graham. 



76 One Who Gave His Life 

In what regard Professor Williams held his former pupil 
is shown in a letter which he wrote to Mrs. Mills on July 
31, 1920. "Your son," he says, "made a permanent im- 
pression on me. I remember where he sat in my lecture room. 
He was what I call the intellectual type of student : that 
is, I have every year a small number of students who 
take nothing from the lecturer until they see it. They 
break through the words at once and search for the mean- 
ing of the utterance. They digest and assimilate the con- 
tent and pass it back to the lecturer as Knowledge. It is 
a joy to work with this type of student. In this class 
belonged Quincy Mills. 

"Such students are the leaders in life. They under- 
stand. When a young life like this is broken and lost, the 
public suffers as well as the circle of friends. I am very 
glad you are to make a permanent record of his life. I 
advised Quincy to go to New York, feeling it was his 
proper sphere. I watched his work and took the keenest 
satisfaction in his success." 

In another letter. Professor Williams says: "One felt 
that he was a critical listener and it would not be 
prudent to attempt any smoke screen with him. The 
ball must go over the plate if one wished a strike. I 
prize such a student. In fact he seems necessary if I do 
my best work for the class. The success of the year's work 
is always due in a considerable degree to this type of 
student. Such was Mills. His presence was a substantial 
contribution." 

Professor Battle's tribute took the form of a presenta- 
tion copy of his History of the University of North Carolina 
in two volumes, which he sent as a gift to Mills upon its 
publication in 1907, along with heartiest wishes for his 
welfare. By way of contrast, it may be well to refer back 
here to the assurance in the Yackety- Yack record that he 



Close Companions 11 

was "one of the boys." He was full of the spirit of jovial- 
ity ; witness this bit of verse from that very same volume 
that very same year : 

A Prescription. 

Break a nice fresh egg or two, 

Beat them, not too fast, 
Add some milk and sugar, 

Then, not least though last, 
Haul the cherished bottle forth 

Draw its stopper, and 
Add unto the mixture straight 

As much as you can stand; 
Use the same internally 

Whenever you feel blue. 
And it will make the landscape take 

Quite a different hue. 

While Mills was generally popular among his fellow 
students, he had naturally some special intimates. Among 
these were S. Wallace Hoffmann, another Statesville boy, 
S. R. Logan, a classmate from Montana, who is now Super- 
intendent of Schools of Big Horn County in that state, 
Harvey Hatcher Hughes, sometime lecturer at Columbia 
University and now a rising dramatist. Dr. Ben. Washburn, 
now or until lately doing scientific work in the West Indies, 
and Roy Brown who is an official of the North Carolina 
educational system. Of these, the closest to him were Mr. 
Logan and Dr. Hoffmann, and they have furnished for this 
book much interesting matter from their affectionate 
reminiscences of college days. 

Mr. Logan only learned of Mills's death almost a year 
after the event, through the request made to him to write 
his recollections. He had missed in 191 7 the Christmas 
letter which they habitually exchanged. "Vaguely un- 
easy, " he says, "I waited, hoping soon to hear from him." 



78 One Who Gave His Life 

Mentioning the names of the five friends just given, he 
goes on: "In this group, Quincy represented at once the 
sharpest wit and the keenest sympathy. We feh the incisive- 
ness of his intellect, the directness and forcefulness of 
his programme and the self-discipline and moral com- 
petency which sustained him and stimulated his fellows. 
Because there was none of that aimlessness and careless- 
ness which is often associated with the intellectual bril- 
liancy of college stars, he commanded unusual attention 
and respect. Duty and self-control, combined with rare 
quickness and grasp, made him a personality and a positive 
factor in the institution. Conspicuously the most scholarly 
member of his class, he found time and inclination to use 
his literary talent not only in the creation of fanciful poetry 
and clever short stories but also in aggressive and often 
deliciously ironical editorials and satirical articles dealing 
with practical and immediate questions that arose from 
day to day, in the literary magazine, the college newspaper 
and the students' annual. College tradition has pre- 
served the fame he acquired as an editor. For two or 
three years he wrote a good part of all three publications. 
Well do I recall my pleasure from the implied compliment 
in a 'drag' some campus wit put in the Yackety-Yack, 
naming three aspiring young writers, 'the vest-pocket 
edition ' of Mills, Hughes, and myself. 

"Quincy himself was a prolific inventor of 'drags.' So 
much so, in fact, that he was handled with somewhat 
apprehensive considerateness. He became so playful 
with his literary 'butting, ' as we called it, that he earned 
from his intimates the soubriquet of ' The Goat . ' By virtue 
of his general achievements, he had already been knighted 
as a 'Bull,' a title by which, from time immemorial, the 
citizenry of that college distinguishes the half dozen or so 
men whose exploits in scholarship, athletics, or forensics 
appeal to popular approval. 



Militant Democracy 79 

"At home in any social group, Quincy resented the in- 
justice to the general run of students wrought by a mo- 
nopoly which certain fraternity groups had secured. He 
planned and helped to promote various expedients for 
enriching the social life of the students as a whole. He was 
vigorously democratic and social-minded in all of his 
reactions. He not only refrained from seeking honors ; he 
sought to avoid class and college offices although he was 
militant poHtically in behalf of his friends and of principles 
of fair play and efficiency. 

"Although he enjoyed the companionship of the campus 
crowds, he had his living quarters far removed from such 
distractions. In the quietest part of the village, in a small 
cottage hidden by great elms, he lived alone. There he 
did his work systematically and thoroughly. There, also, 
he did much dreaming. Certainly his surroundings helped 
to maintain the continuous thread of that inner Hfe which 
differentiated him. 

"Sunday afternoons it was the custom of the five, 
occasionally accompanied by others, to tramp through 
the woods about the University, sometimes a distance of 
seven or eight miles. No trail or stream or point of special 
charm was unknown to us. We always knew at first hand 
the changing aspects of those wilds through the seasons. 
Quincy's enjoyment of outdoors was like that of a child, 
and he retained its impressions. 

"On these excursions, sitting on the pinnacle of a cliff, 
lying upon a bed of ferns or moss in a background of 
rhododendron in bloom, grouped about a mountain spring, 
or idly casting pebbles into the shaded pond of the ancient 
grist mill, we discussed all subjects within the range of 
experience and imagination. The purity and the ideaUstic 
quahty of my friend's conversation, as I look back, amaze 
and delight me. It came to be that these oft-visited spots, 
romantic, historic, peaceful, legend-touched, were benedic- 



3o One Who Gave His Life 

tions to him. The woods were a chapel. There he found, 
perhaps, sought, the exaltation of religious experience. 

"Real men usually try to cover up their deeper 
emotional impulses with a light and jesting manner. It 
was in that style that Quincy brought cheer into the sick 
room of friends. When Ben was detained for several 
weeks in the infirmary with a very bad appendix and an 
icepack, and without real food, Quincy took great pains 
to help the homesick, stomach-aching pal to appreciate 
the excruciating humor of the situation. He succeeded in 
giving comfort. With similar bedevilment he shortened 
the hours of the writer's imprisonment in hospital, al- 
though he had to give up his Christmas holidays to do it. 
Sleepless portions of the night during the latter part of 
that incarceration we spent in the most intimate discus- 
sions of religious and philosophical problems. 

"I gratefully recall how satisfactorily he tormented my 
keeper, the nurse, for me. This was good old, distracted, 
sympathetic 'Appy Apgar, ' whose standard expression of 
sympathy and concern consisted in administering addi- 
tional quantities of salts. As I remember it, practically 
all the credit for the consolatory banquet for the unfor- 
tunates left on the Hill to languish through the Christmas 
recess was due to Quincy. Certainly he compelled my 
keeper to release me in time to participate. 

"I recall an episode which really grieved us both. A 
young friend of mine from a remote section of the moun- 
tains, a freshman, persistently laid himself open to prac- 
tical jokes. In this way he was irresistible, and of course 
the pranks were forthcoming. On one occasion our young 
friend secured admission to the infirmary under circum- 
stances that led us, and also the doctor, to beHeve that he 
was simply giving up to an attack of homesickness. The 
nurse, sharing the diagnosis, and getting an excuse in a 
mild reference of the patient to distress in his stomach, 



Going by Will Power 8i 

placed a huge and powerful mustard plaster over the length 
and breadth of the abdomen, then reported his act to us 
for applause. Poor Pete had a real trouble for comparison 
with what we considered imaginary ills. I thought all of 
this funny, and I published a jingle greatly exaggerating 
the humor, with the result that others came into the 
bleachers with us to watch the game. But half a year 
later, the doctor made a positive diagnosis of consumption. 
While Quincy was entirely innocent in this farce, I beheve 
he experienced severer pangs of regret than did we guilty 
ones. 

"Quincy wrote for the Charlotte Observer a full account 
of our walking tour of the mountain counties in North 
Carolina. Of slight build and without the rugged con- 
stitution that results from grilling athletics, farm work, 
and the like, in my premature judgment, he was doomed 
to fail in endurance. Therefore I took great pains to 
bolster up the proposition that it would be the basest dis- 
grace for any of us to fall back upon the muscular resources 
of the old horse, Stokes, which we took along harnessed to 
a dilapidated carry-all, to transport our cooking utensils 
and supphes. But it was I who fell, and not Quincy. 
When I reached a certain point in exhaustion, I preferred 
brazen disgrace to further tortxire of the flesh. Quincy 's 
superior performance was not due to strength of body but 
to the unbending pride of his will. At times he drove 
himself forward with mind-power on the last stretch of a 
day's travel, scorning to ride. Through those weeks of 
mud, drenched clothing, weariness and the irritation of 
unchanging companionship, he was courteous, cheerful, 
and undaunted, absorbing the views from the mountain 
tops and reflecting the serenity of the hills. 

' ' One of our greatest trials was the 'conservatism ' of the 
third member of our party who husbanded the contents of 
a silver flask so well that on the morning of the last day of 



82 One Who Gave His Life 

our campaign there still remained nearly half to shame him 
(but it did not). It was his custom generously to un- 
stopper the flask when we had been drenched by a moun- 
tain storm and give each of us one measured teaspoonful, 
and no more. On the last morning there was a quiet little 
insurrection. While the owner slept, two young men, 
conscious of the righteousness of their cause, rose early, 
carried the precious flask a distance of a few hundred yards 
to a place where a spring, fringed with mint, bubbled up, 
from the mountainside, and there, with such an impromptu 
recipe as the inspiration of the occasion afforded, made 
some sort of mint julep. Into this concoction went five 
times the usual reenforcement. This ambrosial cup they 
succeeded in getting pretty well drained in spite of its 
queer taste. Thus fortified, and with consciousness of 
duty done, they awaited the wrath to come. 

"In searching out the springs of his soul to account for 
the fineness and nobility of Quincy's nature, I come always 
upon the vision of his mother. During the years of our 
intimacy, at college, among the peaks and shadows of the 
Blue Ridge, in the throngs and excitement of New York 
City, Quincy Mills lived, consciously or unconsciously, 
in the presence of his mother. The persistence of this 
image, the tenderness and constancy of his regard for her, 
this was not only the beautiful and beautifying element, 
it was a key to his character, the unfailing motive of his 
life. His concepts of duty and service and of love and 
self-sacrifice were the product of this factor with his daily 
experience and growth." 

Dr. Wallace Hoffmann, like Quincy a native and at 
present a resident of Statesville, was perhaps the closest to 
him of all his college mates. There was a great renewal of 
the bond when the Doctor, though also well above the 
obligatory age of service, volunteered for the war. His 



College Comrades 83 

maternal ancestors, the Wallaces, were a Jewish family, 
long settled in Iredell County, where the Doctor's grand- 
father established before the Civil War an herbarium, said 
to be the largest in the country. Hoffmann and Mills 
entered the University together in 1902, but later their 
courses diverged as Hoffmann specialized in botany and 
pharmacy with a view to managing the Statesville 
Herbarium. However he gave up that work some years 
ago, studied osteopathy and was practising in his home 
town when the war came. The War Department does 
not recognize osteopathy as a medical science, so he 
volunteered as a private in the army and as such went 
over to France. It was a fine and brave act and caused 
great joy to Mills, which he expressed ebulliently to Hoff- 
mann himself and to all their friends. 

Dr. Hoffmann has contributed his reminiscences in such 
form that it would be both difficult and a pity to cut them 
up and weave them piecemeal into the narrative. They 
are, therefore, although some violence to chronological 
order is the result, given here as they came from his pen : 

"Q.S.»' 

By S. Wallace Hoffmann. 

'Tis sometimes pleasant to rehearse, 
When twilight deepens out of day. 

The tinkle of a tiny verse, 

That whiled the noontide hours away. 

'Tis sometimes pleasant to recall. 
The friends of yesterday, to-morrow, 

But that's a pleasure — if at all — 
That borders very close on sorrow. 

But our real friends are not in any sense the friends of 
yesterday only ; they are our friends now and they will be 



§4 One Who Gave His Life 

our friends to-morrow. We do not need to see them to 
know that they are with us, and truly does this apply to 
Q.S. 

I saw him last in New York, about twelve years ago, at 
which time we had one of those satisfying "What's-it-all- 
about?" little talks that bridge the years of absence and 
put one right with his friend, until the next time. Followed 
ten years of silence. From France, June 12, 191 8, he 
wrote : 

Dear Wal: Bully for you! Mother has just sent me a 
Landmark clipping in re your entry into service. I hope that 
little time will pass before you are enabled to turn your talents 
to more account through a commission. We certainly need 
good medical men in the army. I am thankful to say that thus 
far I have required none of the Med. Dept.'s attention (I here 
knock on wood) but I would as lief have a Boche operate on 
me with his bayonet as be treated by some of the Med. officers 
I know. 

" Go to sick call and they give you an O.D. pill whether you 
have the bellyache or a broken leg," is a saying among the men, 
and I regret that it is too nearly true. 

I have been up front for three months and more and have 
had some pretty exciting times now and then, but I am still all 
together. Don't believe that the trenches are as bad as some 
of the tales make them, — but they are bad enough at that. 

If you are still as much interested as ever in botany you will 
find the fields of France a treat. I have never seen before as 
great a variety of wild flowers, or any so beautiful as these here 
in Lorraine. I hope that we may meet — though not that I 
will have to to call upon your professional services — over here. 

Until then : Goodbye and good luck ! 

Mills. 

My letter to him in answer to this was never received, 
but returned to me just before I left France, in July, 1919, 
a year after it was mailed, and the envelope was stamped 



Frat and Non-Frat 85 

' ' Deceased. " However I knew of his death before sailing 
for France in August, 191 8. 

On a trip to Chateau-Thierry I noticed a familiar face 
close to mine on the army truck crowded with soldiers. 
It was Capt. H. H. Hughes, whom I hadn't seen in fifteen 
years, a great friend and constant companion of Mills and 
mine during our college days at the University of North 
Carolina, in 1903 and 1904, and of course our memories 
took us back to the times that had been. 

I remember distinctly the trip to the Hill where Quincy 
was to be a Freshman and I to be enrolled in the profes- 
sional school. We were separated when the Sophs, 
rounded up the Freshmen at University Station, ten miles 
from Chapel Hill. The crowd didn't care to hear the 
Declaration of Independence from a new man, so I was 
soon released and permitted to mingle with the bunch that 
had Q. S. for the center of attraction. He was perched 
upon a pile of baggage in the baggage car and the 
assembled multitude were learning all about the "Old 
Lady from Smyrna" and similar celebrities — the hazed 
apparently getting as much fun out of the performance as 
the hazers. It was a Fraternity crowd conducting the 
entertainment and his initial performance served to make 
Q. S. known to the bunch that were to be his political 
enemies during his College years. 

At the University of North Carolina in those days, spirit 
was intense between the Fraternity and the Non-Frat. 
crowd and Q. S. was usually in the midst of things, helping 
his crowd carry an election, breaking up the opposition 
caucus, and all the fights that went with class politics. 
Most of his friends were mine, and some of my friends 
were his. He was not a good mixer, or he was more dis- 
criminating, depending on the point of view. 

In politics he was an ardent fighter, vice-president of his 
class one year, Editor-in-Chief of the Tar Heel, the College 



86 One Who Gave His Life 

paper, played his part in helping the University Magazine 
with frequent contributions, and in the publication of the 
annual. Probably there were a number of other honors 
that fell to him by virtue of ability and good work, but it 
is not of this that I want to tell, but of the man at his best 
and worst when playing and boning, for often at college 
studying may be a bad habit. 

We took up tennis together and soon were evenly 
matched and spent many an afternoon in hot contest on 
the courts. One day Dr. Eben Alexander, the Dean and 
one of the politest men that ever lived, stopped to watch a 
point that had a hard time to decide where it wanted to 
stay — smash, lob, smash, volley, cut, smash and repeat — 
and at last on his court the ball refused to bound. Q. S.'s 
racquet dropped and he was about to say something when 
he spied "Alex." Followed a moment of mildly profane 
silence, and then he called sweetly across the net to me, 
"Well, I thought it anyway!" and as Dr. Alexander 
strolled off, his shoulders showed that he understood the 
proprieties. 

I was only at the University two years with Quincy; 
during this time and on later vacations we were tennis 
partners or opponents whenever occasion presented. You 
get to know a man well in any matched contest, and Q. S. 
was well worth knowing. As a partner he was working 
for the team, as an opponent he had to be licked, as he 
never quit. If he won, there were no regrets; if you won, 
you knew there had been a battle and your opponent had 
been caught trying. He knew that what was worth doing 
was worthy of considerable effort, and so he became presi- 
dent of the tennis association, champion of his class, and a 
few things like that. 

My brother joined us during the second year and was 
thereafter a part of the tennis combination, Q. S. being 
very fond of the "Beau Mice" as he nicknamed the kid. 



Old Letters 87 

At the University, being in the professional school, I 
was not supposed to study, so spent my time finding out 
about the library and the boys, and many an hour was 
passed in Quincy's room. We understood each other 
rather well, and if he was studying I would pick up a book 
and read quietly for a while, then occasional squeaks 
would emanate from the selected rocking-chair. If his 
nerves got the better of him, or the studying wasn't going 
very well, he would look up in exasperation and submit 
some remarks. I would pretend to be entirely oblivious 
to what it was all about, read on in silence for a while and 
then quietly get up and tiptoe out of the room. Next day 
he would come around and we were as good friends as ever. 
I think that we never definitely quarrelled over anything, 
it was my gift to be unusually exasperating at times, and 
when I succeeded in trying my friends to the point of a 
cussing-out it was regarded as a distinct triumph and of 
educational value. 

If Q. S. had a box from home, and he often had, there 
was a jolly party, and he was usually on hand at the return 
engagements and he shone both as host and guest. We 
went for lots of long hikes and picnics, and when not too 
busy usually managed to have as good a time as we knew 
about. 

Here are a couple of letters from Chapel Hill, that bring 
back memories of the old days : 

Oct. I, 1905. 

My dear " HoFF," I have been intending to drop you a few 
lines ever since I've been here — but you know what intentions 
amount to at College. I am carrying nineteen hours (Psych, 
included) but that is no excuse, for I haven't done a decent 
hour's work since I've been here. I'm going to let up on the 
studying proposition this year. 

Things are rubbing along very smoothly. The Freshmen 
have already held their election and there was nothing doing 



88 One Who Gave His Life 

to speak of. It went Non-Frat, of course, and now the Frat 
Booters are scraping around trying to hold another, but it 
won't amount to anything. The Fraternities took in very 
few initiates this year. More boys got butted than I have 
ever seen turned down here. The present class of Freshmen 
have quite a contingent of Booters. The Sophs, are very 
weak. They have done absolutely nothing, and the Fresh- 
men are beginning to believe that they are it. Hughes is back 
and I am certainly glad of it. We either play tennis or take a 
walk together almost every afternoon. He is one of the best 
eggs ever. 

Our outlook in the football line is not as bright as it was. 
We have a fine coach, Warner of Cornell, but the material has 
not worked up as well as we expected. Several good men have 
been hurt and altogether the outlook is not very bright when 
you consider that we have the heaviest schedule this year we 
have ever had. The Thanksgiving game will be played at 
Norfolk this year, but there will be an excursion just the same. 
If the tariff isn't too high I'll go. However I may make a trip 
to Statesville the last week in this month instead. If I do I'll 
fetch along my tennis racket and maybe we can have a game 
or two. I've picked up somewhat. 

Night before last, Will Houck, Harry Harrison and I went 
out on a fruit raid. It sho' was dark. We stumbled all over 
those Orange County Hills. Will stood on his head in a ditch, 
Harry fell in a branch and I capped the climax by rolling into a 
gully with a bag of pears on my shoulders. However, I have 
no kick coming. I can't see why I didn't break my neck. 
At present I have nearly a bushel of pears ripening in my 
trunk and there will be something doing later. 

Sincerely your friend, 

QuiNCY Mills. 

Feb. 17, 1907. 

My dear Wal, Of course after seeing your glorious self in 
your natural habitat, the bughouse, it was like receiving a 
glass of cold water down a Fred Pinkus Collar to read your 



Just "Joshing" 89 

letter, although it was just as cranky and irresponsible as you 
could ever hope to be. I regret that I have not said epistle by 
me now, but in the rush of Metropolitan life at the Hill I have 
mislaid it. My regards to the "Beau Mice" just the same. 
No I am not woozy — even if Rae Logan did lead a 
German on the third floor of Mary Ann last night. You 
needn't think that because Hughes had to hold him in bed all 
night to keep him from choking himself to death on German 
verbs that I am intoxicated. Nay! But, as I was saying a 
moment ago, I have an inkling that you laid yourself out to 
butt me in said epistle. Don't do it, pard, don't do it, give up 
the attempt. Greater men than you have tried to do that same 
thing, and failed. It takes a wise man to get the laugh on a 
fool, you know. 

However, subtracting paper amounts from your reprimand 
in proportion as Gethinklebug's History of Civilization, 
Bothwhowsky's Universal and Individual and other similarly 
vicious works have had deleterious effects upon the attic of 
your anatomy, causing an abnormal swelling of the bump of 
altruism and other alarming results, I have about decided not 
to notice you at all. In earnest, though, I appreciate your 
suggestions as to the propriety of using certain terms. I had 
never thought of them seriously, for it is very seldom, I believe, 
that there is a suggestion behind them that is meant to cut. 
Indeed, I believe that you are getting into the way of consider- 
ing life in too solemncholy a manner. 

Try to think — I admire your spunk in making the attempt — 

but don't carry the effort to the length that has done. 

He has been trying the experiment so long and so wildly that 
I fear that he will end up some day by taking to grunting and 
imagining himself to be one of his prize Berkshires — the acme 
of perfection in his eyes, you know. Take warning of his 
example. 

But I have bored you long enough by this rambling disser- 
tation on the Lord knows what. . . . Besides I must make 
some Tar Heel. 

Therefore, "So Long." 

Q.S. 



90 One Who Gave His Life 

When Quincy was a Junior, summer vacation, we had 
the most perfect camping trip in the rain that one can 
imagine. A golden time! Replete with incidents of joy 
and struggle to make the most of things — the mountains 
(with Rae Logan along to compare them with his intimate 
knowledge of the Rockies), and makeshifts to enjoy con- 
traband from mint julep to a wonderful oyster soup made 
out of canned oysters and condensed milk. Then there 
were the varied efforts to make sleeping a success, such as 
digging a ditch to keep the rain from washing down one's 
neck when sleeping under the wagon. This followed the 
attempt of four of us to sleep in the same — a covered one- 
horse affair that served as baggage-and-supply transport — 
feet toward the middle. For some reason it wasn't a 
success, or was too much of a success to be enjoyed — 
strong smelling lantern, cheese, straw and too many feet, 
with the three-legged horse tied near our ears and adding 
to the pot-pourri. Q. S. wrote up the trip for the Char- 
lotte Observer — Footing it Through the Blue Ridge — but 
there are many fond memories, that could never be written, 
of this wonderful trip. 

In some letters from Hughes around this time I find 
Q. S. mentioned and extracts from written records are 
more accurate than any memory of incidents of fourteen 
years ago, and show his interest in things. Here are some : 

Quincy tells me that you played tennis, Xmas; but he pre- 
serves the silence of the damned in regard to the score. Ben, 
old measly Ben, you remember him — and Quincy and I went 
out to Polyfolium Cliffs (Ben insists on calling it Pollyflodium) 
to take some pictures. I wish you could have been along; we 
had oceans of fun. Quincy 's tongue was out by the time we 
crossed the bridge above Purefoy's. When we got within 
about ten yards of the top of the cliff (we came in from above) 
Quincy threw himself flat on his face on a patch of moss and 
groaned for joy. Without lifting his head or even opening his 



A Generous Censor 91 

eyes, he swore it was the most beautiful place and commanded 
the finest prospect in the whole state. The cliffs were cer- 
tainly in their glory and almost merited this extravagant 
praise, but I think Quincy's judgment was undoubtedly influ- 
enced by that patch of moss that served so nicely for a bed. 

Quincy did get a "leetle tetched in the head" about the 
Golden Fleece. But it was nothing serious. He didn't want 
me to join and I shouldn't have joined if the organization had 
been what he thought it was. But like a great many other 
members of Horace's Psych, class he has a habit of generalizing 
from insufficient data. The Golden Fleece is not a Fraternity 
in the sense we use the word in the University and never can be. 
It gives you a chance to get on the inside of things that no 
other organization affords. 

Quincy and I took Christmas dinner down at Dr. C. al- 
phonso Smith's and enjoyed it immensely. The Doctor 
uncorked some of his choice jokes — the ones he keeps on tap 
for all occasions, and Q. S. and I both laughed ourselves blue 
in the face (He's taking 15th Eng. and I'm takin' 14th). 

We lived in the same town and that a small one, but I 
have no distinct recollections of Quincy during the pre- 
college days. He was not in my classes at school, and was 
at preparatory school while I was in High School. Yet 
we must have been thrown together quite a little in the 
early days, as I can dimly recall him coming to bat in a 
ball game that took place on my back lot twenty-odd 
years ago, but it is the neatly fitting sweater, rather than 
the boy, that makes the picture. I knew that he was an 
only child, devoted to his mother, studious to a marked 
degree, and nicknamed "Quincy- Apron-Strings" with 
that cruelty that girls and boys often exhibit. 

It was characteristic of Q. S. to want to correct the 
faults of his friends as well as commend their virtues 
(probably rather than would be a little more accurate, not 
that he was at all stingy in recognizing good quaHties), 
but if you were his friend and these were known, it seemed 



92 One Who Gave His Life 

up to him to help out a Httle. His loyalty was marked, and 
at times he seemed to think so much of his friends that he 
wouldn't bother to be polite. If one didn't know him well 
this often queered things a little. 

His Code contained laws that he rigidly adhered to and 
not only the letter but the spirit. Not only would he not 
indulge in vulgarity but he wouldn't countenance it. 

Life to Q. S. seemed a rather simple thing — do the thing 
to be done, plan ahead and be prepared. When it was 
written, "The end is forbidden. Thy use is fulfilled" it 
was given to Q. S. to respond largely and beautifully, and 
as I would have expected of my friend, and his memory 
will always be a source of pride and exaltation. 



In both of the above assemblages of recollections and 
impressions, stress is laid on the Blue Ridge Mountain 
walking trip which took place in 1906 when Mills was a 
Junior at Chapel Hill. This was a remarkable expedition. 
Despite his zeal as a student and his multiform literary 
activities, Mills found time and energy for a great deal of 
physical activity. He was too light for a football player, 
but he was an expert in baseball and tennis. He played 
both from his early teens and was a pitcher of unusual 
quality until a sprained arm put him off the diamond, to 
his deep chagrin. Then he took to tennis in earnest. He 
was a star player at the University, was a member of the 
Varsity team and its Captain in 1907, winner of two prizes, 
and College Champion in 1906 and 1907. His interest in 
the game, indeed, never waned. In New York he kept in 
practice until he went into the training camp at Platts- 
burg in 191 7. 

But walking was his special delight. If there had been 
prizes for tramping at Chapel Hill, he would have won 
them all. He took tramps that would have knocked out 



In the Land of the Sky 93 

most men — and delighted in them. The endurance he 
gained from this habit stood by him splendidly in his last 
great adventure in France. Sometimes he went alone; 
often he had companions as in the biggest outing of all, 
the days spent in exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, 
the region which North Carolinians call the ' ' Land of the 
Sky." This time the party was four in number: Mills, 
"The Bo," "Loge" and "The Kid." "The Bo" was Dr. 
Hoffmann, who spells it "Beau" as has been seen; "Loge" 
was, of course, Mr, Logan and the fourth member, "The 
Kid, " was Bate Toms of Rutherfordton, a younger lad, 
whom the others picked up at that place, the real starting 
point of the tramp. There was a fifth in the party, the 
old horse "Stokes" who was procured for them by the 
Kid. The start was held up for three days in the effort to 
acquire him. Mills thus describes his entrance on the 
scene : 

On the third day, as we quaffed the water of the mineral 
spring, enter Stokes, heralded by The Kid with a countenance 
beaming with the conscious joy of work well done. The rest 
of us did not beam, and he who could have viewed Stokes 
without some misgivings must have been sanguine indeed. He 
limped heavily, his breath came and went in heaves and his 
ribs stared through his hide in a way that spoke painfully of a 
lack of oats and corn in his diet. We held an ante-mortem 
consultation about him, through which Stokes stood with 
downcast head, his eyes closed, swaying miserably with each 
breath, utterly unconcerned as to any disposition that might 
be made of him. Loge was the veterinarian; he shook his 
head despondently and said nothing. There was nothing else 
for it, however; we were out for a walking trip, but we had to 
have a wagon to carry along our kit, and it was necessary that 
the wagon should be pulled; therefore it was Stokes or bust, 
and as he did not expire before our eyes we adopted him to 
complete our list. 



94 One Who Gave His Life 

This mock pathetic picture of the old horse is from the 
first of Mills's six articles in the Charlotte Observer, to 
which Dr. Hoffmann and Mr. Logan allude, and which 
reported the trip in alternate outbursts of boyish animal 
spirits and emotional word painting. He describes the 
adventure as the product of "Junior" psychology. He 
had just ended his Junior year and an idea of his view 
of himself and the campus life is gained, when he remarks 
that it was not because they were entirely debilitated by 
the activities of the year just passed that he and "Loge" 
decided the trip was "absolutely necessary to their peace 
of body and mind." He explains that "the Freshman 
works because he does not know any better " ; by the time 
Sophomorehood is reached he has learned the true rela- 
tions of books to college life, but his social duties as ' ' un- 
questioned ruler of the campus absorb all the energy which 
the Junior may devote to unalloyed ease." The Junior is 
"indeed a blessed mortal"; he is freed utterly from "the 
jag of conscience " and so, "from a maze of tobacco smoke 
and unconventionality he may blissfully gaze on the life of 
forced bustle and self-importance of the Senior." 

In this spirit the excursion was begun. Sunlight and 
boarding houses full of pretty girls, where they dined, 
brightened the first half day for the four. Then they ran 
simultaneously into rugged country, a wild thunder and 
rain storm and the ford by which they were to cross the 
Broad river, a rippling and sparkling little stream which 
charmed them in fair weather. But this was their 
experience : 

Down and down we went in a succession of jolts until we 
could hear the wheels churning through the running water ; it 
was clear that we were at last approaching the ford. But we 
were so miserable that the knowledge made no impression on 
us. Our oil cloth, an improvised top of sensational coloration, 
had proved insufficient, and the cloudburst that had swept 



Spirit of the Mountains 95 

upon us had beat through in a fine spray that deluged the con- 
tents of the wagon. We were dripping and cold — with no 
prospects for a camp, for the river, swollen already by the 
water from the mountain sides, was far too full for fording. 
Our outlook for the night was gloomy. 

Stokes lunged on a little way and stopped ; we could feel the 
wagon settle slowly under us and knew that we had mired. 
It was pitch dark under the trees and we strained our eyes in 
vain. Then came a flash of lightning; balls of fire snapped in 
the air about us, two knobs of flame glittered on the tips of 
the hames and we saw Stokes stagger in the shafts. Stokes 
was only stunned. Lunging forward with a strength of which 
I had believed him incapable, in an instant he stood trembling 
on firm ground again. 

This was perhaps the most serious actual danger that 
they were in, but they had plenty of discomfort and minor 
mishaps, over which their young courage triumphed with 
laughter. Mills tells it all in such detail in his Charlotte 
Observer articles that they would fill forty pages of this 
book. Some of the hardships were purely ludicrous : 

Breakfast done we faced a problem previously unthought of. 
In no effusion on a camping trip had we found any record of 
the washing of dishes. The Kid, as chief of the kitchen, de- 
creed that each man should wash his own tin plate and spoon 
and cup. These, plus a knife and fork apiece, completed our 
table luxuries. For washpan, we had abundance of clear 
water at a pool in the branch by the roadside, but our washpan 
had no hot water connections, and the more soap we applied 
the slicker grew o^ar tinware. Finally we abandoned the 
Octagon and took to plain sand, which worked better, and 
when we desisted we were well satisfied with the results — al- 
though I have a notion that certain particular housewives of 
my acquaintance might still have shied our platters out of 
their kitchen windows. 

They camped ne?:t for a couple of days at the base of 
Craggy and explore4i all the surrounding country, bathing 



96 One Who Gave His Life 

under waterfalls and dancing and maybe flirting a little at 
night with the boarders in a nearby hotel. Incidentally, a 
laundress they hired "decorated the landscape " with their 
underwear to the edification of the same boarders. Men- 
tion has been made of the oilcloth top of their wagon. It 
was a parti-colored wonder; every strip was different in 
hue, to the delight of the country folk. But it did not keep 
out the wet, as has been seen, so they went to a well- 
stocked village store for reinforcement, which they got in 
still another tint. Now the Blue Ridge Mountains were 
not noted for their prohibition tendencies in these days any 
more than at present, nor were these boys prohibitionists. 
They had a great curiosity and Mills tells of their attempt 
to satisfy it : 

We were travellers in a strange land and we wanted to see 
all there was to be seen of its wonders. No harm was in us, 
positively none, but was there not a chance of our getting a 
squint at one of the original blind tigers? The mystification 
of our host, the merchant, was magnificent ; it took him fully 
twenty minutes to comprehend what the blockading business 
meant. Then, after much cudgelling of his memory, he found 
that he had once heard, many years before, of a party down 
beyond the South Carolina line who dealt in wine; that was 
all the information we could get. Seldom it is that one meets 
with such innocence; we gazed upon it in rapturous awe! 

Yet, just around the bend of the road, we met a citizen 
whose legs, even at that early hour of the day, were danger- 
ously erratic in their motion and whose face was suffused 
with a certain vague expression of joy as he nursed along a jug 
of the brownest shade. We did not disturb his bliss to ask, 
but the jug beyond doubt contained the water of a certain 
mineral spring of which we had heard. The further we 
travelled the more we were impressed by the variety of marvel- 
ous effects that could be worked by simple mountain lithia 
water. . . . 

While we could arouse no overweening interest in Bald 



Rumbling Cave 97 

mountain, or over the relief work that may or may not be 
depicted along its seamed and fissured southern front, from 
which it takes its name, we found abundant material in its 
history. Some twenty-one years ago, at the time of the 
Charleston earthquake, old Bald created quite a stir in its 
vicinity by emitting deep nunblings and growlings from the 
depths of its caverns, while its rugged flanks were felt to shiver 
with clearly perceptible tremors. The news was quickly 
spread that the ragged old htmip of the Blue Ridge, which had 
lain in thoroughly respectable silence through so many genera- 
tions, was in reality an extinct volcano, and might be expected 
to spout smoke and flame from its crevices at any moment 
and inundate the land with lava and ashes. 

Then indeed was there fear and trembling throughout the 
region for many miles around; from every hilltop resounded 
the voice of the mourner, and in each valley echoed the songs 
of praise. Revival followed revival, and from Turkey Hollow 
to Panther Ridge there remained not a still or a mashtub to 
tell of the errors of the past. 

Nothing happened, however. The frost came and still 
nothing. What naturally followed ? There was the corn lying 
idle or the precious kernels going to feed senseless cattle. In 
the changing of a moon, yea, verily, before the camp-meeting 
arbors on the hillsides had been rent asunder by the autiunn 
winds, lo, a thin column of smoke arose again from every 
hollow, while the hard grain changed slowly to liquid joy. 

But the trampers could get nothing better than cider 
which was not even hard. Presently they started to 
explore the caves in which the region abounds. At 
Rumbling Cave in Bald Mountain they turned from a far- 
flung scene of lovely country into a tall narrow cleft, just 
wide enough to allow them to enter edgewise. They 
advanced warily as "Loge" lit the lantern. The air 
streaming from the depths of the earth chilled the perspir- 
ation on their bodies but not their ardor. They tried 
gallery after gallery and level after level in which the rocks 



98 One Who Gave His Life 

were cold and damp and the temperature frigid. They 
were stopped everywhere by heaps of shattered rock block- 
ing the way. Some of the downfalls from the roof were 
evidently recent. 

Judging from appearance another fall might occur at any 
time. The whole body of Bald mountain stood cracked from 
surface to centre into a series of immense perpendicular clefts of 
rock, which leaned together to form the galleries. Muffled rum- 
blings have issued from time to time from its innermost recesses 
to be reechoed through the valley, hence the name that came 
to be applied to the hollow in the cliff. These sounds, it was 
clear, had been caused by the grinding together of immense 
slabs in their shifting, incident to the settling of the ridge. 

But there was a more thrilling experience in store when 
they penetrated the Bat Caves in Craggy— one of the 
cliff -girt giants of the region — opening on Chimney Rock 
Valley. The tramp to the cave mouth brings out some 
delicate bits of description, inspired of a hearty zest for 
nature's charms. In one place the explorers found "an 
angle of the cliff where the jagged edges of a rift in the 
rocky wall were cushioned clear up to the mountain's 
brow with the darkest of green moss, bedewed with 
sparkling drops of purest water. Numberless little rills 
trickled together with a sound subdued and inviting, 
suggestive of inexpressible coolness and relief to the thirsty 
traveler, into a shallow basin on a shelf just at elbow 
height." The wayfarer might drink from the rills and 
cool his brow in the receptacle. After that, "sordid must 
be the mind that would not feel a vague desire to roll 
luxuriously in the dripping green curtain of the cliff from 
its topmost edge to the dewy lacework at the foot." 
Unfortunately, the lining of the curtain was ' ' quite hard, 
not to mention its sharp edges, and the pool too shallow 
to cushion the final stoppage." 



Subterranean Terrors 99 

The cool streamlets of Craggy freshened all the atmos- 
phere. The explorers came on a "Blowing Rock," dis- 
tinct from the more famous one in Wautauga County, 
N. C, and stood breathing the chill air that poured from a 
great vertical fissure six inches wide. At last they came 
upon the mouth of the Bat Caves. Around it "the trees 
pressed close together. Thus, in having a setting of 
greenery, the galleries differed at the very outset from 
those in Bald Mountain." There were three openings. 
The boys tried them all but found no sign of bats. One 
led into a cathedral-like cave of Gothic effect. The 
second was unattractive. 

But the third, winding in and out, over and around great 
blocks of stone, and along narrow ledges, risky pathways in 
the blackness of the granite's heart, opens a tortuous way well 
back from the reach of daylight. Through this, the whole 
party wriggled and crawled after "Loge," who went ahead 
with the light, until brought up short at the edge of a cliff 
which seemed to drop clean off to nowhere. 

Linking our belts together, we lowered the lantern into 
the abyss without catching a glimpse of its bottom. Failing 
thus, we sent a fragment of loose stone whirling into the dark- 
ness. There was an interval of silence, then, far below us, 
there echoed a choking splash as it fell, engulfed in some subter- 
ranean pool. Simultaneously we experienced peculiar prickly 
sensations in the region of our scalps, and, simultaneously, we 
scrambled back from the yawning mouth of this black well. 

Somehow we were satisfied with cave exploration, and felt 
perfectly willing to grope our way as quickly as possible along 
the clammy walls to daylight. So precipitous was our haste 
that we narrowly escaped going astray in a blind passageway, 
and then we came to know a few of the preliminary thrills that 
must fall to the lot of those who find themselves hopelessly 
entombed in such dank and slimy fastnesses with only a 
flickering torch or lantern to render the darkness more 
impenetrable around them. 



100 One Who Ga^e His Life 

We were glad to get back to the entrance, and even there 
we found ourselves so painfully chilled that it took us some time 
in the shaded pathway, to grow even reasonably comfortable 
again. In fact, our blood did not resume its usual flow until 
after we had climbed to the top of the mountain and baked 
ourselves on a rock. It was hot enough there. It occurred to 
me that a dweller on this portion of the mountain's back 
would be doubly fortunate. He could fry his eggs on a natural 
spider in his front yard and freeze his ice cream simply by 
lowering a bucket of custard into a crevice in the rock. 

We considered the proposition of opening a real estate boom 
on the desirable property, but gave the scheme up on finding 
that we would be forced to construct elevators to the level of 
the summit in order to interest prospective victims. When 
we cease to be juniors and find ourselves more plentifully 
supplied with the necessary wealth the "Consolidated Moun- 
tain Improvement Company" may be floated still, with a 
special blind tiger connection in every pantry as a drawing 
card. 

The trip continued for several days more with pleasant 
meetings with natives of the mountains and summer visi- 
tors, feasts of scenery both lovely and awesome, comic 
mishaps and practical jokes. Mills comments on the 
kindness and intelligence of the mountain people. Their 
general bearing, he says, "gave the lie direct to the belief 
current as to the uncouthness of the mountaineers. In re- 
gard to the good looks of the miountain lasses, we found 
that report had not erred. There were plenty of them in 
every hollow, not the slender, fragile, flower-like specimens 
with complexions indicating a short-lived beauty and ill- 
health, but big, strong girls, full of health and vigor, rosy 
of cheek and as capable of enduring mountain tramps as we 
were." 

The last stopping place was at Lake Toxaway where 
they found a fine modern hotel and the "most bounteous 
fare supplied for the most bounteous consideration." 



Cloud Painting loi 

Without the latter, ' ' the wanderer might as well be in the 
Sahara, so far as a square meal was concerned." The 
people who made it a mountain paradise evidently thought 
that "paradise should be operated on a paying basis." 
The day was Sunday ; they bathed, notwithstanding, in the 
lake and, being Juniors, were not shocked. Then they 
toiled three miles to the "gently convex summit" of the 
mountain. They found a long, single-storied frame hotel 
on it and climbed to the roof to witness a sunset which the 
landlord assured them was one in fifty in point of glory. 
As they emerged on the roof, the red ball of the sun was 
just sinking behind the western summits. 

Extending up into the vault of the sky, above the sunset, 
hung a drift of mackerel formation, its fleecy waves tinged 
with the softest gold and pink. The rolling edges of the cloud- 
bank beneath glowed with a rich crimson as if fed by the fires 
of an invisible furnace, while the extremities of the bank flared 
in varying shades of yellow and orange, blended everywhere in 
crevices and on isolated shoulders of mist with spots of purple 
and pink. Out in the east one solitary cumulus head, riding 
alone in space, shone like a glowing opal, iridescent in the re- 
flection of the glory of the departing day, its white mass turned 
into an ever changing variety of colors, brilliant in the amethyst 
setting of the distance beyond. 

Underneath this constantly varying panorama of color 
effects stretched ridge upon ridge and peak upon peak, their 
tops bathed in the rich glow of the sunset, while at their bases 
from the cool recesses of the valleys clutched the sinuous gray 
line of the mist. Across the rank upon rank of summits suf- 
fused with the glorious light, there shot, now and then, the dark 
shadow of some lofty peak. Over the whole of Lake Toxaway 
rode a downy gray coverlet of fog shutting off from view the 
chimneys of the inn, and folding the shadow of the mountain 
into early rest. Here and there over the landscape the rare 
tinges of the slowly falling sun rested bright on spire and house- 
top in some mountain town. And always the lights were 



102 One Who Gave His Life 

changing, assuming' new hues and showing the clouds in vary- 
ing proportions, like figures in the lens of some gigantic 
kaleidoscope. 

The scene kept them on edge until it faded out to a mere 
flush in the west. Then they were recalled to lower strata 
by the smell of hot fried chicken. "It was the crowning 
feature of our trip," says Mills. The next day they 
started for home. They rejoiced that "the incontroverti- 
ble force of junior logic had brought the jaunt to pass." 
It had toned up their nervous systems "to render true 
service in the battle of bluff of our (their) senior life." 
Its impressions and experiences sank into their spirits and 
acted as a lasting tonic. His vivid story of it intensified 
Mills's desire for a pen career. 

In the reminiscences of Mr. Logan and Dr. Hoffmann 
allusion has been made to the fraternity fight in the Uni- 
versity and — in Mr. Hughes's letter — to the Order of the 
Golden Fleece, of which there was a branch at Chapel Hill 
and which Mills evidently placed in the "frat" group. 
As Dr. Hoffmann puts it, he "was so strongly democratic 
and anti-fraternity that he was ready to go to the mat with 
anything that resembled a 'frat. ' " According to Hughes, 
the Golden Fleece was an organization much broader 
than the Greek letter fraternities, having for its object the 
improvement of University life. But he had stood with 
the anti-frat bunch and Mills seemed to think he was 
deserting the colors. When they entered the University 
in 1902, the students were sharply divided into two carnps 
on this question. Naturally the fraternities had no 
attraction for Mills. He had already developed somewhat 
extreme democratic ideals and he regarded them as foster- 
ing an exclusive and snobbish spirit out of keeping with 
true Americanism. He threw in his fighting spirit from 
the beginning with the anti-fraternity faction. As his in- 



Anti-Frat Crusading 103 

fluence grew, he became a formidable figure in college 
politics. 

The Yackety-Yack for 1903, the year after he entered, 
contained a strong statement of the anti-frat position, in 
which this passage occurred: 

It is in college politics that the lines are most strictly drawn 
and the fire most rapid between the frats and non-frats. As a 
result of these contests the non-frats boast that today they 
enjoy by far the larger share of political spoils. They have 
the presidencies and many of the chief offices of all the aca- 
demic classes. The editors-in-chief and business managers of 
both the Magazine and the Tar Heel are non-frats. Three of 
the sub-marshals are of this element. 

But the proudest boast of the non-fraternity men is not the 
reaping of honors in college politics, but that in every phase of 
university life "where men rise by might of merit" non-frats 
are found in the majority. For the past three years, half of 
the men whose scholarship has entitled them to membership in 
the Alpha Theta Phi have come from the non-frats ; out of the 
twelve men who have represented the University in inter- 
collegiate debates during the past three years, eleven have 
been non-fraternity men. For the past three commencements 
all but two of the commencement orators have been non-frats 
and upon each of these occasions a non-frat has borne away 
the Mangum medal. 

In athletics they break even with their fraternity college 
mates, although many of them find abundant exercise in some 
employment by which they are paying their way through 
college, and, consequently, are not found on the athletic field. 

Alpha Theta Phi was the organization of honor men at 
the University in earlier days. Some time between 1903 
and Mills's entrance, it was superseded by Phi Beta 
Kappa. Throughout Mills's time in college, the anti- 
fraternity lead in distinctions of all sorts, both academic 
and athletic, continued, nor has it materially changed 



104 One Who Gave His Life 

since. The share Mills took in the struggle has been well 
defined by Mr. Logan in his reminiscences. He was not 
in college politics from any selfish motive. The Yackety- 
Yack summary has shown how few offices he held either 
in his class or in the numerous organizations to which he 
belonged; yet he was popular enough to have had any- 
thing he wanted. His membership in the Buncombe 
County Club is an illustration of his status in this respect. 
He had no personal link with Buncombe County; but all 
the members were so much his friends that they insisted 
on having him among them. 

So we have a picture of him working and playing alike 
with strenuous enthusiasm. Few youths of his age have 
ever lived a fuller life. Rather small and light but wiry, 
with wavy hair and calm eyes sometimes lighting up and 
dancing with mirth, a fluent and entertaining talker, an 
easy companion, yet with a great capacity for silence, for 
reserve and for contemplation, he had a distinction and a 
promise that his contemporaries fully recognized. His 
own view of college life and work is fairly set forth in a 
letter to his father, written February 28, 1906, in his junior 
year. Apologizing for infrequent writing, he says: 

If a man has any ambition at all in college or wishes to de- 
velop himself in any special line, he has mighty little time 
after he gets to be a junior. The regular college work does 
not amount to nearly so much as it does during the first two 
years. I do not put more than a third as much time on my 
books as I did formerly ; the balance goes to the magazine or 
some other outside work. This outside work is what counts 
for the most and will be of most value in after life. The man 
who shuts himself up between the lids of his books while here 
certainly loses. 

But in spite of hard work and many occupations, his 
temperament led him constantly to poetic expression. 



Verses Tragic and Tender 105 

One curious feature of his verses at this time was his vision 
of the sea swept by storm. He had never made a sea 
voyage, but he had lived by the ocean during his stay in 
Florida, and it is reasonable to conjecture that he derived 
his inspiration and his material from observations at that 
time. His imagination must have been much stimulated 
to compel such expression as this : 

The Norther. 

When over the sea the north wind comes 

Loud is the tempest's roar; 
Over the waves the cloud-banks loom, 
On the harbor-bar the breakers boom, 

Tossed is the ocean floor. 

Out on the deep the good ship reels 

Under the flying gale, 
Loud and long each straining mast 
Groans in the grip of the driving blast, 

Far streams each storm-rent sail. 

Now in, now out, her gallant keel 

Churns in the seething flood. 
Buffet on buffet the billows deal. 
Until the shuddering sailors feel 

A shock that chills their blood. 

The north wind conquers ; once again , 

The vessel rears her bow. 
Pauses proudly an instant, then 
Plunges deep — the hurricane 

Rules supreme master now. 

But his verses were by no means always so tragic in tone. 
Gentler passions also had a place in his soul. The lines 
which follow have a touch of mystery about them. No- 
body now can tell the identity of "K." He never spoke 



io6 One Who Gave His Life 

of any such sweetheart to his mother, his universal con- 
fidant, and "K." was not the initial of anyone whom he 
was known to admire. "Perhaps," Mrs. Mills remarks, 
"this was just the ideal of his dreams." The verses 
appeared in the Magazine: 

To K . 



Locked in the secret chamber of my heart, 

From every stain and blot of life secure, 
I guard thy portrait, sacred and apart. 

As long as hope and ardent love endure. 
Tender and gentle brimming o'er with grace, 

With eyes that brighten with the purest love, 
A delicate, fair beauty wreathes thy face 

That glows with radiance given from above. 
And so thy image, seen as by a veil, 

An airy mist obscured, smiles on serene 
Through sun and shower, brightening all the dale 

Of life with gladness — my beloved queen. 

My heart as naught the troubled present deems — 

I worship thee, sweet lady of my dreams ! 

In the sonnet ' ' To L. " it has been seen he could be bitter. 
He could also be sweet. And then, he had his moods of 
free laughter, as witness: 

The Assistant Chemistry Man. 

De chemistry 'sistant man, boss. 

In chief is what I is, 
I breshes de lab an' keeps it straight 

An' tends to all de biz. 

I likes to watch de gemmans work, 

A-fiddlin' wif deir viles, 
A-messin' roun' wif little pots 

An' cur' some sorts of iles. 



Success Through Study io7 

Dey mixes stuff in little chubes 

An' puts it on to bile, 
An' raises 'n awful mighty smell 

In jest a little while. 

Sometimes dey makes some big mistakes 

An' mixes sump'n wrong, 
An' den, crack-bang, jest see 'em jump! 

De debbil's loose 'fore long. 

For my part, I hain't got no time 

To only more'n tell 
Erbout dese iles whut eats your close 

An' floors you wif deir smell. 

'Deed, boss, I never teches 'em 

Or takes 'em in my han' 

Huccum I needs to when I is 

De 'sistant chemistry man? 

But while Mills wrote for all the college publications 
and for outside newspapers, while he played tennis and 
politics, while he walked and dreamed, while he went 
through the usual strains and pains that drill the youthful 
heart to lasting loves, he never lost sight of the fact that 
the aim of his University years was to acquire an edu- 
cation. There are in existence many well-thumbed blank 
books full of his notes of lectures— English literature, 
history, philosophy, scientific branches. These cover his 
work both at the Oak Ridge Preparatory School and at the 
University. They show that faculty of seizing the ' ' high 
lights " of any subject and the systematic array of material 
which made him later a good newspaper man. Industry 
and conscientiousness are written all over them. 

His thesis in philosophy, dated April 28, 1906, has the 
odd form of a fictional narrative of the moral rescue of a 
young man of lax tendencies through grief and intro- 
spection. It was labeled The Proving and on the fly- 



io8 One Who Gave His Life 

leaf Professor Williams made this endorsement: "The 
paper interests me. Add analysis to description. To do 
this, master Psychology. H. H. W." It is an interesting 
bit of psychology in itself, showing the domination of its 
author by the element of conscience, modified always by 
the love of life and joy of living. 

There are also extant a number of the formal reports 
sent by the University authorities to his parents. The 
marks indicate high standing. On the report for 1903, 
Dean E. Alexander endorsed these words ; "An excellent 
student;" in 1904, he wrote: "An uncommonly fine 
student;" in 1905, "A splendid report." The whole 
outcome of his academic work is summed up in the fact 
that when he graduated, he carried off with him a Phi Beta 
Kappa Key, the hallmark of American scholarship. 

The graduation did not take place until June 4, 1907, 
five academic years from his entrance. The reason of 
this was that in January, 1904, while in the Sophomore 
class he had an attack of measles which had the common 
effect of leaving him with weakened eyes. On February 
19, he wrote from Chapel Hill to his father at States- 
ville apropos of a breakdown in the health of his grand- 
mother. After speaking of this, he goes on : 

When I wouldn't agree to come home right after I got well 
— or rather got up, for I am still rather grouchy — I told you 
that I'd let you know if I had any trouble with my eyes. I 
have had none so far as pain is concerned. However, my eyes 
seem to be very much weaker than I thought they would be 
and than they appear to be. . . . Although they look about 
the same as ever, they run what seems to be merely water 
whenever I use them long enough to get up a lesson and it is im- 
possible for me even to stay in a room with electric lights. These 
symptoms are more marked than they were early in the week. 

Now it has taken a lot to make me arrive at this conclusion, 
but I have finally decided that I have no business at Chapel 



A Wish Superseded 109 

Hill any longer. Although I have had only about half as much 
work as I carried before Christmas during the past week I 
have been unable to do it with any degree of benefit or satis- 
faction to myself. It therefore stands to reason that I will be 
unable to keep up my work later on. I think that you and 
Mother will agree with me. ... It may be that if my 
glasses were refitted I might be able to stay here. However, I 
would have to take a risk that I am unwilling to take. There 
is only one experiment that will tell what is wrong and I am 
perfectly candid in saying that I am afraid to try it. That 
experiment is staying on here and working. 

I will not worry over my hard luck. Everybody has to 
have a little. ... It is mighty hard to pull out and leave 
but it is about the only sensible thing I can do. My time will 
not be thrown away as I want to go to work pretty soon and 
stay at it until I come back. 

He went back in January, 1905, and had no more hard 
luck. In Yackety-Yack for 1907, he left a few lines which 
sparkle with the high spirits of the Commencement 
season : 

A Wish. 

When to reunion I return 

Just ten years from to-day 
I hope to find things just the same 

As when I went away, 
That to my comrades I may turn 

And, smiling, to them say : 
"Yes, everything is just the same — 

Same old campus, same old well, 

Same old jaybirds raising hell, 
You bet I'm glad I came!" 

When the time for the reunion came, Mills was at 
Plattsburg working for his commission, and fully em- 
barked in the great adventure which was at once the 
fruition and the sacrifice of all his years of preparation. 



CHAPTER IV 

A Bold Step and its Success — Ingenuous Bohemianism of a Young 
Newspaperman in New York — Development of a Critical Mind 
— Plays, Politics and Philosophy. 

It has been seen that before his graduation Mills had 
made up his mind upon two points as respects his active 
life. He had decided to enter upon newspaper work 
either as a career or a stepping stone and he had resolved to 
make his start in New York. After Commencement in 
June, 1907, he went home to Statesville. He remained 
there all the summer, helping in his father's business and 
resting and building up his health. In September he was 
ready for the plunge. 

No small courage was needed. He was already in debt 
for the greater part of the expenses of his college course and 
he was obliged to borrow again to cover the cost of his new 
expedition. He could have become at once the editor of 
the Rohesonian, a weekly, published at Lumberton, 
Robeson County, N. C, or he could have had a position as 
reporter on the Charlotte Observer, then a very brilliantly 
edited and successful newspaper, for which he had already 
done much work in the line of special articles and news 
correspondence. The opening was a fair one, near home, 
and the pay would have been about as good as he could 
hope for as a beginner in New York. He could also have 
had a position as a reporter in Philadelphia. However, on 
New York his eyes were set and he was not to be turned 
aside from his plans or his ambitions. 

no 



Settled in New York m 

The start seems to have been made on September 23 or 
24, 1907. A letter written from Hamlet, North Carolina, 
is dated the 25th and shows that he had made some stop- 
over to attend to business for his father. He had been 
entertained by friends in Charlotte and expected to make 
other visits on his way to Norfolk, whither he was headed 
to take the steamboat for New York. He began to meet 
friends, college mates and others, on the train and this 
experience repeats itself again and again, through all his 
records down to the end in France. He took in the 
Jamestown Tri-Centennial Exposition, which was then in 
progress, but, on the whole, was bored by it — by all of 
it except the historical display. Arriving in New York 
on the 28th, he went directly to No. 115 Washington 
Place, a boarding and rooming house, kept by a Miss 
Jarmen. 

This was by no means Mills's first experience in New 
York. In 1897, when he was thirteen years of age, his 
father had occasion to pass a winter there on business. 
Mrs. Mills and Quincy spent the months of January and 
February with him. Owing to the blindness of her 
mother, Mrs. Mills could not remain away from States- 
ville for a longer time. Again in 1905-6 Mr. Mills stayed 
for several months in New York and Quincy spent a month 
of his vacation in 1 905 with him. Mrs. Mills, who also came 
North, remained with Mr. Mills until March, 1907. Then 
a tangle in business obliged them to return to Statesville, 
and they were there at the time of Quincy's graduation. 

Among the acquaintances Mr. Mills made in New York 
in 1906 was that of Mr. John Doohan, a young Irishman 
who had lately arrived in New York from Hartford, Con- 
necticut. Both were lonely; they became very good 
friends and he remained a frequent visitor of the family for 
several years. Mr. Mills wrote to him when Quincy was 
coming to New York about accommodations, and he 



112 One Who Gave His Life 

secured a room at Miss Jarmen's where he himself was 
staying. Mr. Doohan figures frequently in Quincy's 
letters as a sympathetic companion. 

The story of Mills's early days, indeed of his first year in 
the big city, is told in his letters home, in which he gives 
ingenuously all the details of his life, his work and play, 
with many criticisms of men and things that reveal his 
expanding mind. Mr. Doohan steered him about the city 
and kept him from growing lonely. He spent just a few 
days in getting his bearings ; then he addressed himself to 
the trying task of job hunting, as he called it. To aid in 
his quest, he had a number of introductions and 
recommendations. Mr. R. W. Vincent, the Managing 
Editor of the Charlotte Observer, sent him a personal letter 
of the friendliest kind, urging him to continue contri- 
buting, especially to the approaching Christmas issue, and 
enclosing a cordial endorsement, of which this is the text: 

"Charlotte, N. C, September 30, 1907. 

To Whom It May Concern: 

Mr. Quincy S. Mills, with whom the writer has been ac- 
quainted several years, possesses journalistic talent to a 
marked degree. During his career at the University of North 
Carolina, he served The Observer as news correspondent — the 
best the paper ever had at that institution — and was a fre- 
quent contributor to the Sunday issues. His articles have 
been widely read and admired, and critics have yielded to him 
literary ability of a high order. His most recent contribution 
to the paper, "Footing It Through the Blue Ridge," has 
excited universally favorable comment, and The Observer has 
never printed a more excellent narrative of adventure. 

Mr. Mills is a conscientious student and a prolific writer. 
Personally he is a young man of irreproachable character and 
sterling worth. I esteem it a privilege to commend him to 
anyone seeking the service or companionship of a cultured 



Landing a Job 113 

Christian gentleman and predict for him a brilHant future in 
the profession that he has chosen and which he will adorn. 

Robert W. Vincent, 
Managing Editor, The Observer. 

Mills had, besides, letters to Mr. Ochs of the Times from 
Dean Alexander; to Mr. Ralph Graves and Mr. R. E. Mc- 
Alamey, influential newspaper men, from Mr. Graves's 
brother, Louis; to Hammond Lamont from the late Profes- 
sor Baskerville, recently of the New York City College but 
then of the North Carolina University, and to Mr. Jesse 
Lynch Williams and others from the Rev, LeRoy Gresham, 
Pastor of the Presbyterian church at Chapel Hill. It does 
not appear, however, that he presented any of these 
credentials. He went his own way about seeking employ- 
ment. He marched into the newspaper ofhces and asked 
for an opportunity. On October 5, he wrote to his 
mother: "So far I have no job, but you are not to be 
discouraged by that. I am far from it." He had in 
fact secured a promise of a place on the Times whenever 
there should be a vacancy; it became a mere matter of 
waiting. He could have had an immediate opening in 
commercial lines, but decided to wait. 

However, in an envelope postmarked October 7, 7:30 
P.M., he characteristically enclosed a visiting card on one 
side of which was written : 



Q. S. Mills 

The N. Y. Sun 

The Charlotte (N. C.) Observer 



This was on the other side : 

Now comes the hardest part of all — making good. I will 
make good, or there will be no buttons not ripped off my pants. 
Love to Papa and yourself. Particulars later. 

Q. 



114 One Who Gave His Life 

The card was not quite accurate. It was The Evening 
Sun and not The Sun — then a very important distinction 
— ^in whose service he had found a billet. He remained 
a member of its staff, latterly on leave of absence for 
duty in the war, to the day of his death, eleven years 
later. 

In a letter dated October 8, he tells how it came about. 
He writes to his mother: "I guess you have sufficiently 
recovered from the first shock to take the rest of it. I had 
no other introduction than my nerve. I thought that, as 
I was going to use said nerve, I would strain it right at the 
start. Therefore I went down to Park Row." He went 
to the Tribune first and found "the boss" out at lunch, so 
he went next door to the little old redbrick building of 
The Sun. He was "turned down" by the City Editor of 
the great sheet, but went one flight up to the queer rookery 
in which at that period The Evening Sun was daily 
hatched. He says: "I blew in, pulled out my card with 
The Charlotte Observer inscribed thereon — and was ac- 
cepted." He stated his case to Mr. Charles P. Cooper, 
the Managing Editor, showed Vincent's letter and said he 
was a Southerner, born and bred. "I was asked what I 
wanted. My reply was, 'A chance.' 'Well sir,' was the 
answer, 'you'll get it. Report at 8 o'clock to-morrow 
morning for work. Your salary will be fifteen dollars a 
week!' I'm here." 

The next day, he writes again, telling of the wonder 
of his new companions as to how he did it. Mr. Cooper 
had "turned down " four applicants on the four preceding 
days. Mills concludes: "I guess I happened to strike 
him in the right mood and with the right impression." 
Mr. Cooper, who is now a professor in the Columbia 
University School of Journalism, being asked about the 
incident for the purposes of this book, wrote that he could 
not recall the particulars. He went on: 



Personality Won 115 

I will hazard the guess that it (his acceptance of Mills) 
was due to personality alone for in the old days we gave little 
heed to introductions. Mills very early made himself one of 
the "good men" and our relations from first to last were most 
cordial. I treasure to this day a card which came to me at the 
Times office, while the war was on, from Mills. Our paths 
had taken different directions for a long time and I had no 
idea that he ever had me in mind, when this card reached me 
bearing friendly greetings from the war area in France. It 
was only a little later when the news reached us that he had 
perished. With all of his former associates, I cherish his 
memory. 

From his commencement of work, many of his letters 
are written on "copy paper," some in pencil, scribbled 
between jobs of news getting and writing. Cub reporters 
were cheap in those days, but it is astonishing how much 
the boy did with that fifteen dollars a week. He assured 
his parents that his pay card would not long remain 
at that small figure. 

However, for the moment, his anxiety was not as to a 
raise but to hold the job he had so boldly won. He 
watched the first and second week's pay days with acute 
misgivings and many succeeding ones with a gradually 
diminishing nervousness. He was as modest an adven- 
turer as ever braved fortune with his pen in a New York 
newspaper office. But, in fact, he was never in any 
danger. Everybody liked him. The copy desk gave him 
reassuring hints; people higher up threw him words of 
encouragement; his comrades chummed with him and 
exhorted him to courage. At first he rewrote items from 
the morning papers and the like; soon he began to take 
"stories" over the telephone and write them for publi- 
cation ; he was quite cheered up to see how little doctoring 
his copy needed. Then he was sent out after news, a 
large fire in Jersey City, for instance, and a run on a trust 



ii6 One Who Gave His Life 

company — these were days of panic — and to get inter- 
views. Several mild compliments followed such experi- 
ments on the score of his thoroughness and accuracy in 
getting facts. One day he handed in a sketch to Cooper 
who read it, chewed his moustache and remarked: 
' ' Young man, you're like all Southerners, you slop over ; but 
you've put a touch in here that is all your own." Mills 
sends home the compliment with great elation, adding: 
"Not bad as a starter and the sting wasn't in the tail." 

Then came the day — it was February i6, 1908 — when 
he was sent down to Wall Street to cover the Curb Market. 
This meant no raise of pay, but the duty required great 
exactitude. The assignment showed that he had inspired 
confidence in the office. He enjoyed the experience, 
including the first glance it gave him at the big men in 
finance. He almost resented the slight amount of real 
work to be done, but balanced up with a resolution to 
write fiction and sketch stuff for the famous "back page" 
of the paper. Some six weeks later, he had an experience 
to which nearly all young newspapermen are exposed in 
one shape or form. He writes ; 

Could have added a neat little wad to my salary this month 
had I seen fit. I handle the curb stock reports and a repre- 
sentative of a certain firm slipped $25 into my hand the other 
day. He nearly fainted when I handed it back and told him 
that I didn't happen to have any price. ... I needed the 
money all right, in fact on the very day it was offered I had a 
pecuHarly subtle influence at work on me that might have 
made the chance a temptation. Isn't it strange how things 
always seem to hit at the very centre of a fellow's weak spots? 
Well, I may always be short of cash but I will always be able 
to look myself in the face. 

All along, while doing his day's work for The Evening 
Sun, a nominal eight hours but often more, he kept on 



Work and Play "7 

working for the Charlotte Observer. He sent special 
articles, New York news and gossip and Christmas matter. 
The resulting checks were not large but with their aid he 
paid $125 on December 17, 1907, on account of his note 
at the First National Bank of Statesville, which had 
provided for his early New York expenses. He renewed 
for $100. Besides this process of "paying for the dead 
horse" he made some savings out of his salary. How 
he did it may seem puzzling in post-bellum days of high 
hving cost, but he paid moderately for his room, took his 
meals at cheap places— after a while boarded at Miss 
Jarmen's— and made the outfit that he brought from 
home last through his period of strain. Withal, he lived 
neither a narrow nor an uninteresting life. Besides his 
writing and much reading he amused himself in many 
ways. He had all New York to roam about and he did 
so, learning the city journalistically. He went to theatres, 
concerts, the opera. He attended several dinners, includ- 
ing one, very early, of the University Alumni at the Cafe 
Boulevard on Second Avenue, at which he made a speech 
that was applauded. He had many friends and paid som.e 
social visits, but, it must be admitted, as few as he possibly 

could. 

All these doings, mixed up with stray bits of his work, 
and all colored by his hopes and his fears, his homesickness 
and his will to win, he flashes through those home letters. 
There is no trace of Hterary effort, but something far more 
vivid in the careless, natural revelation of himself, the 
unconscious intimacy of detail, the frank assumption of an 
interested and affectionate enjoyment of his confidences on 
the part of those to whom they were made. The hasty 
but pointed periods are instinct with youth and hope and 
the joy of Hfe. He was forming his mind and his taste, 
too, and he plunged into criticism of all sorts with refresh- 
ing frankness. He was by no means always right. Many 



ii8 One Who Gave His Life 

an opinion of those days he would have laughed at a few 
years later, but he was always interesting and generally 
had a reason, even though not over sound, to give for his 
faith. 

A few excerpts from these living documents will best 
serve to illustrate what he was and how he spent his days. 
While he is still wondering as to how he came to land in his 
job, he writes: 

Have not been out much at night. Saw the Hippodrome 
show and Nazimova in The Master Builder all in the first week 
that I was here. Those things don't attract me as they used 
to [alluding probably to his earlier New York visits] and I 
find that I am very ready to rest when I get in, although I 
don't seem to do enough to tire an infant. Doohan is good 
company and I like him a whole lot. We smoke, play casino, 
or go out for a glass of beer together every evening. Never 
before have I had impressed on me so forcibly that man is a 
sociable animal. I feel the need of company in this town. 

He was not really blase as to shows, as will appear. He 
was, however, lonely in the crowd. He longed for the 
family circle. The sensation of doing too little work soon 
wore off. They kept him pretty busy at the office and he 
began pleading this condition as an excuse for laxity in 
writing, which, in fact, was never perceptible. The 
Alumni dinner seems to have been on the evening of Octo- 
ber 12. It was a highly "expansive" affair, with thirty 
eight banqueters, but Mills did not "go up in the air" 
even when Judge Van Wyck, who presided, called on "Q. S. 
Mills of the New York Sun, one of the latest to enter our 
ranks." "You can bet," he writes, "that I was surprised 
and nervous, but I got up and decided that I had to be 
game for the sake of '07. I told them a few things about 
the new university." On this occasion, he felt truly at 
home. He knew many of the party and one or two were 



The Play's the Thing 119 

real friends. He was complimented on his speech. * ' May- 
be," he remarks, "it was the wine that was talking." His 
next dinner, about a month later, was a Y. M. C. A. affair 
and much "drier" if not less "expansive." He went as a 
reporter but enjoyed it hugely. He comically represented 
that it took several days to recover an appetite after it, the 
eating was so prodigious, in the absence of drinking. A 
third feast was that of the Tennessee Society at the 
Waldorf — a great event. ' ' Bob Taylor put up a spiel that 
was worth hearing. We had Southern music and South- 
ern grub — in so far as a French chef could be considered 
capable of preparing it. While the drinkables weren't 
moonshine cocktails, they were all right; no 'water in 
glasses tall!' " 

He sent clippings home of his work, good straightaway 
reporting as it appeared in the paper, and others of many 
things of interest to the home folk. Musical and dramatic 
news and criticism were most in favor, and presently his 
own views in these lines begin to occupy a large space in 
the letters, especially those addressed to his mother. The 
amount he wrote and clipped on these topics seems at 
first sight out of proportion, but Mrs. Mills explains: 
"The reason Quincy wrote so much about plays and 
operas was that we had gained at home from books and 
magazines a satisfying knowledge of pictures and sculp- 
ture. But plays and operas must be seen and heard to 
be understood and appreciated. For this reason, when 
we isolated Southerners come to New York, we have to 
satisfy a lifetime hunger for these forms of mind food. It 
is impossible for one who has always lived here to realize 
the keen freshness of our interest." 

The Observer Christmas stories, of which he wrote two 
long ones, kept him severely tied down until the middle of 
November. Then he began a course of theatre going. He 
saw The Merry Widow — "par, perhaps," he comments — 



120 One Who Gave His Life 

Erminie, — "pretty good." Oddly, he found little catchy 
music in them; only the too, too well-known waltz in the 
former aroused his enthusiasm. He went back to hear it 
several times, and, again and again, names it but to praise. 
One letter in January, 1908, he devotes mainly to his 
theatregoing. On the whole, he says, it "has not given 
me as much pleasure as I had anticipated." He thinks 
there were no musical shows equal to Fantana, that now 
forgotten favorite of a season, and music was the thing 
he most loved. However, he found Anna Held in The 
Parisian Model, was "very good in a sensuous sort of 
way." He had a windfall in the Abom Opera Company 
at the Lincoln Square Theatre — Fra Diavolo and The 
Chimes of Normandy in English at popular prices. Estelle 
Wentworth, "who has a remarkably clear voice," caught 
his fancy. 

But "the climax of the musical hash" came when he 
got "office tickets" for a Saturday night performance at 
the Metropolitan Opera House. The opera was Aida. 
The naive boyishness of his account of it is worth quoting 
pretty fully : 

To say that I enjoyed myself would be putting it very 
mildly, and it wasn't a case of grand opera rave either. I 
went expecting to be bored and well bored, but had a pleasant 
surprise. The opera is so totally different from what I expected 
that it took me right away. Gadski had the leading r61e, and 
while hers was the only voice that pleased me especially — 
the only one good enough to make up by fullness of tone 
and expression for the "Greek" of the words — the whole 
thing was so splendidly staged that I was amazed. The ballets 
were really worth while, and the instrumental music through- 
out could not be improved upon; it is simply perfect. These 
things alone pleased me, for the opera as a piece of literature 
is decidedly ordinary. It seemed to me a perfect anti-climax. 
This effect may have been produced by the less satisfying 



A Touch of Realism 121 

quality of the music in the last act. ... In minor details, 
some things enlightened me. I did not know that the 
Egyptian priestesses wore knee skirts and silk tights and 
adorned their blo7ide curls with picture hats with ostrich plumes. 
But they were good to look at so I pardoned Conried. 

He kept on going to the opera. On January 28, he 
saw Faust and enjoyed it "immensely," Dippel had the 
title part. Mills says nothing of him but rates Chaliapine 
as the star of the evening, "the critics to the contrary, 
notwithstanding." He goes on: "In comparison with 
Aida, Faust is more satisfying to me as a dramatic work, 
but its music is hardly so impressive, and its staging far 
less elaborate and striking. I cannot conceive a piece of 
staging more splendid than that of the triumphal scene in 
Aida." Of Carmen, he writes a little later : 

It is the best that I have seen in the grand opera line, so far. 
The cast included some unusually good singers for a popular 
price performance. [It was at Hammerstein's.j Calve her- 
self would have to do some hard work to surpass Bressler- 
Gianoli. She was perfect as the cigarette girl. Mme. 
Zeppili, the little woman right under her on the bill of fare, had 
about the sweetest, clearest soprano that it has ever been my 
lot to hear. Dalmores was good; so was Gilibert, so was 
Trentini — and, best of all, they suited their parts and could 
act. Grand opera to reach its perfection must be acted as 
well as sung. When they put a big beef of a woman into 
Camille's part in La Traviata as they did at the Metropolitan 
on Saturday night, it took all the heart out of the play for me. 
I have read Camille and have very decided ideas as to the per- 
sonality of the slender little slip of the Parisian understratum 
— who was never so bad in my eyes anyway — and when they 
put in her shoes a big woman that could chew up a beefsteak, 
offhand, and made her attempt to pass off from comsumption, 

the result was simply heartrending. True [Needless 

to specify the great artiste he was lampooning] has a 



122 One Who Gave His Life 

voice remarkable for its range and power, but what's the 
use? 

At last he heard Caruso and he gives a good bit of space 
to him in a letter written, March 2, although he begins: 
"From my standpoint, there isn't much to tell." It was 
again his theatrical taste that was offended. His ear and 
his eye were at odds. The great tenor's anatomy did not 
suit Mills. The opera was II Trovatore and he was dis- 
appointed in it too, in spite of Owen Meredith's super- 
lative. "It can't approach Carmen,'' he writes, adding 
naively that "the duet, the Miserere and the Anvil Chorus 
were by far the best parts ; but they were not up to what 
I had hoped. Mme. Eames sang with Caruso and to my 
mind beat him." 

His devotion to music was not confined to the Opera. 
He went to the Hippodrome frequently on Sunday nights, 
he sampled the Philharmonic and other orchestras and he 
heard The Creation sung at Carnegie Hall and enjoyed it. 
But his taste was still in the formative stage. He goes 
back to Carmen to express surprise that his mother did not 
care for it. It was the Toreador's song that hit him hard ; 
he pronounces it ' ' the catchiest air I have struck up with in 
some moons." He "carried it away" with him on one 
hearing — he had probably heard it often, as a popular 
selection — and he thought that wonderful, as his ear was 
not quick. Incidentally, in another letter he defines his 
musical state exactly. He had gone to see an armory 
review of the Twenty-second Regiment, New York State 
National Guard, which he describes as "the most effective 
military event I have had the pleasure of witnessing." 
He goes on: "The music added not a little to the spec- 
tacle, for it was good music of the sort I really believe I 
appreciate best — along with the remainder of the canaille 
— military music." 



Stage Morality 123 

"Being in thirst for something light after such heavy 
feed [as Tr ova tore] — an elegant term to apply to Grand 
Opera — and out to hunt for relaxation," he went to hear 
the Waltz Dream, and this brings out another aspect of his 
character. He writes of it : 

It's a dream all right, a nightmare, in fact. If anybody had 
told me that respectable folk, even in New York, would sup- 
port so uselessly vulgar a production I would not have be- 
lieved it. People that will stand for this sort of thing and then 
bray at Shaw are beyond my ken. . . . The first act in the 
breadth of the suggestion of its lines would justify a Zulu chief 
in running it out of an African jungle. But Broadway whoops 
and cheers at it, and the women seem to get the most fun of 
all out of the ill-smelling attempts at humor that endeavor to 
say everything that can be said, with the least possible veil of 
propriety. 

God help the stage if this is the sort of thing the public is 
going to yell for and playwrights are going to turn out in the 
future, while Shaw and Ibsen are set back as immoral. In- 
cidentally it is hardly worth while for actors and actresses to 
kick at the disfavor in which their profession is held when 
they consent to produce such stuff. 

The young man who wrote this — he was about twenty- 
five — was neither a prig nor a prude. Simply, he had a 
standard of public taste and morals. His sympathy for 
the Traviata has appeared. A couple of weeks before his 
Waltz Dream anger, he had something to say about the 
Thaw case in answer to some remark of his mother's. He 
finds a degree of condonement for Stanford White's share 
in the plot in that "he did something positive for American 
art to counterbalance his negative influence morally." 
"The woman in the case," he adds, "has attracted me 
pretty much as she has everyone. I don't blame her so 
hardly for going back that second time to White" — with 
much more that is kindly and in the spirit of the most 



124 One Who Gave His Life 

famous judgment of such cases by the greatest Judge 
of all. 

Young Quincy could be gay enough on occasion even 
to the borderline of the risque. He has in one place a 
description of the New York spring breezes in which he 
grows almost as sportive as they are wont to be : 

There is a blast from the north howling about the eaves. It 
has been cutting capers in the streets and around the corners. 
I'll venture to bet that every maiden in New York put on her 
clockworks when she arrayed herself in her Sunday finery this 
morning — just so as to be on the safe side if anything hap- 
pened. Not that anything was going to happen, but, then, 
one never can tell ; gusts are so very tricky and so very much 
given to surprising one — and others — at the most unexpected 
moments, that it is, after all, best to be on the safe side. Then 
when one has taken all the precautions, and done all one can 
to — well, to mitigate the calamity, and, after all, nothing, not 
even so much as a discreet flurry does dash at one, can one 
really be blamed for feeling just a wee bit miffed at old Boreas? 
It could not have been one's fault, had it happened for how 
could one have prevented it and others would not have cared. 

Boyish fun and animal spirits, quite innocent but not 
exactly puritanical! But the mind of twenty -five often 
turned toward the complementary human element. 
Besides sundry family friends, other feminine wraiths flit 
through the letters. He saw a Sun typewriter girl put her 
arm around the neck of an extra sized Maltese in the 
counting room and concluded that it must be the far- 
famed "Office Cat." The girl was pretty; she hugged 
the sleek animal. "Have been endeavoring to meet said 
typewriter girl ever since, for I like cats, and, with so 
much in common, she might — well, it's an awfully fine 
Sunday and I'm going for a walk." Very early in his 
career, after reporting a charity conference he writes: 



Satisfying "Candida'* 125 

"Had company, lots of it, in the shape of about twenty- 
one years of girl, good looking girl, who is reporter for 

the . We took lots of notes and when I got back to 

the shop I found lots of marks of the meaning of which 
I hadn't even the suggestion of an idea." The same — or 
was it another? — very good looking girl reporter figured 
largely in his life for several years. His comrades thought 
it looked serious. It might have been, but Fate willed it 
otherwise. In fact it may be said of Mills at this period 
(as of most young fellows of his age) that he sometimes 
neglected " to be off with the old love before he was on with 
the new." 

Besides going to the opera and otherwise cultivating 
music, Mills became a great playgoer. He shared the 
pleasure and instruction he derived with the people at 
home, chiefly in letters to his mother. The first play he 
mentions is Candida, "the most satisfying thing in the 
dramatic line that I have taken a look at so far. ' ' There 
is, however, no clue as to what else he had then seen except 
musical comedies. "I nearly hurt myself laughing at 
Prossy," he goes on, "and the old gentleman whose name, 
according to my normal forgetfulness, I cannot lay hold 
of" — no doubt Burgess. "I listened with sincere in- 
terest to every line of the play; it is the best of Shaw's 
that I have seen and, after seeing it, I, at least, am sure 
that he knew what he was talking about when he said that 
he could write better plays than Shakespeare. He can in 
one sense, because he is a twentieth-century dramatist, 
dealing with twentieth-century life. But in some ways 
Bill has him beat several laps still." Mills himself, it may 
be observed, was very twentieth-century. 

He next praises The Witching Hour and its star, John 
Mason. The theme of the play, telepathy, gripped his 
attention. "Augustus Thomas," he comments, "got a 
good steed but rode it till it was windbroke and weak at 



126 One Who Gave His Life 

the knees." He thought the occult element was so over- 
done as to provoke a smile. He decided that with experi- 
ence and the material he could have turned out a better 
play. Yet, he concludes, it was * ' one of the most effective 
I have seen and I wouldn't take a lot for the pleasure I got 
out of it." Then he does some classification: "Of the 
other dramas I have seen The Man of the Hour, Anna 
Karenina, The Master Builder, A Doll's House, Lear and 
Macbeth have been first class; The Lion and the Mouse, 
and The Rose of the Rancho passable, while The Thief 
proved no special excuse for its existence, so far as I could 
see." 

The Reckoning with its curtain raiser, The Literary Sense, 
he found "more Ibsenish than Ibsen." He thought Miss 
Katherine Gray, who was featured in them, "at the top of 
the list of emotional actresses, but Mme. Nazimova's name 
must be written on the line just above hers. Her emotion 
is a little too much of the physical ; Nazimova catches you 
with the mental side of her work and knows just how 
much reserve her lines will stand." 

Then he saw Mr. Sothern in Hamlet and a great and 
growing admiration set in. He says the interpretation of 
the character was "identical with the way I had learned 
to read the play, but he added some things I hadn't been 
deep enough to pick out of it." He liked Lord Dundreary 
much less, but he is almost rhapsodical over // / Were 
King — "about the most perfect drama I have ever seen. 
After seeing Sothern as Villon, I am satisfied he is a great 
actor. He plays the part as if he gloried in it. His 
supporters fit their places as if made for them. I am 
going to see it again. The lyrics in the book are exquisite, 
and Sothern renders them just right." 

He also went to see Mr. Henry Ludlowe as Shylock but 
the portrayal did not satisfy him, though he confessed 
himself unable to assign a reason. One more stage experi- 



Art and Books 127 

ence : "I went to see Olga Nethersole do Sapho ; I wanted 
to see how the book staged. It's not so bad and could 
be made really very good if properly dramatized. But 
Olga is impossible. Sapho is a distinctly disreputable 
person, but she is to be preferred to affectation. I was 
satisfied, however, for I got some pointers," Those 
interested in psychological oddities may be interested in 
comparing this with some other criticisms quoted. 

Music and the theatre were not Mills's only interests 
of the intellectual kind. There are several mentions of 
visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including one 
to the exposition of the works of St. Gaudens; but there is 
neither description nor comment. His mother's expla- 
nation as to dramatics, no doubt, applies. Of books and 
concern in books there are innumerable passages, some of 
them extended. Sometimes discussion arose through his 
mother and himself reading a book simultaneously and 
exchanging views, as in the case of The Shuttle, Mrs. 
Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel of international marri- 
ages and the interweaving of American and European 
stock, which had just then been published. * ' I agree with 
you," he writes, "that the first part of the book is superior 
— in some ways. It is the analysis of character in this 
section that makes it so worth while. The delineation is 
imusually good, but a trifle drawn out at times. The 
latter third is much more dramatic in incident — don't 
you think so? — and is considerably more rapid in move- 
ment. ... In places it is very strong and impresses you 
with its reality. The book should stage well although it 
might have to be altered materially. ' ' He stayed at home 
every evening for a week to read it. He finally pronounces 
it ' ' a wonderfully pleasing and satisfying book for a modem 
novel." Undoubtedly its political or sociological aspects 
appealed to him very keenly. But Mrs. Mills is author- 
ity, as has appeared, for the belief that Mrs. Burnett was 



128 One Who Gave His Life 

one of two or three contemporary novelists in whose work 
he took an unflagging interest. He read very many of her 
works. 

Another admirable novel which appeared about the 
same time aroused both his interest and his analytical 
powers. This was DeMorgan's Alice for Short. He is 
both appreciative and somewhat unfair in his criticism of 
it. He was on the waiting list for five weeks at a library — 
which he calls "the little library on Thirteenth Street" — 
before he got it, so, one evening, he could not "resist the 
temptation to see what it was like even if the library card 
did come just on the heels of a resolve to get very busy," 
writing special newspaper stuff. Then, "after one found 
what it was like, how could one stop reading until one had 
finished the very last page, even if it took one until 1 130 on 
Sunday morning ? " He spent all his spare time for a week 
on it. He writes: 

After reading it, I feel as if I had been delving for days in some 
old garret, among haircloth trunks and musty lace and faded 
silks of long ago. It is a rare sensation and is distinctly worth 
while. If I could only enjoy it every week I believe I would 
be willing to forego my desire to grind out copy of my own just 
to give way to the enjoyment. 

Not that I have no flaw to find in this fine tale of orphan and 
artist — and cats. Of course there is no trouble in understand- 
ing why the book appealed so directly to your heart ; anything 
so permeated with an atmosphere of cats was bound to capture 
you [himself equally, of which more presently] ; but frankly, 
I cannot help nourishing a grudge against my friend De Mor- 
gan because it is an absolute impossibility for me ever to find 
the young lady with the tantalizing scar "just around where 
folk kiss you." I fear it will be some time before I cease ex- 
amining every girl whom I meet to see whether or not there is 
a scar just around where she should be kissed. ... Of 
course, Alice is his best creation and I'll wager that, if he has a 
wife who has not a scar on her cheek, she is keeping a sharp 



"Alice for Short" 129 

lookout for some woman who has. This is only another way 
of saying that DeMorgan was sorry he couldn't marry her 
himself before he got through with his book. 

Charles is the second best and Peggy third in the scale of por- 
traiture, but there are any number of smaller parts mighty clear 
cut. In fact, viewing this man's characters collectively, it is 
easy to see that he went on the trail of Thackeray, as he in- 
dicates liimself by his comparison of Lavinia to Becky Sharpe, 
when he dipped his pen into the inkpot. [A curious theory 
this, in view of the general and much shallower comparison 
of DeMorgan with Dickens.] For my part I think he goes 
Thackeray one better in the way that he keeps the little in- 
timate things of everyday life always next your heart ; but his 
characters in the large have not the strength of his master's. 
I would rather read Alice for Short than The Newcomes. 
Thackeray's observance of details is too dry; the younger 
writer's is more folksy and absorbing. Did it occur to you 
that in the book as a whole there was an unusual dearth of 
detailed place description? 

To get on to Alice and Charles — she is not to be forgotten, 
but one could remember her with more pleasure if she had been 
less sufficient at all points. She would have been enough as a 
very sensible and lovable young woman. She had her hands 
full accomplishing that without becoming an authoress, con- 
sidering her parentage. That is where DeMorgan fell down. 
He should have left out the literary achievement — and the 
cigarettes. The fact is he felt so enthused over her that he 
came to believe her capable of anything. But why spoil the 
scar with the cigarette? He could have made Alice uncon- 
ventional without it. I do not like women who smoke ciga- 
rettes. And, finally, why had Alice to be illegitimate ? There, 
she was punished with something she did not deserve. 

Passing on to Charles, I must say I never went into raptures 
over him at any stage. His saving grace was that he liked 
cats. True, the author does not explicitly state that he liked 
them, but he must have. One of my reasons for disliking his 
make-up is that in his idle brush and maul stick I see con- 
siderable similarity to my pen. And in the end he got more 




130 One Who Gave His Life 

than was coming to him; a girl Hke Alice deserved a more 
positive character. I have a slight notion that your advice to 
me with regard to reading this book may have been prompted 
by a resemblance — in some ways, at least^that you perceived 
between the painter and myself. Come now, Mother, haven't 
I caught you ! . . . But I like, especially, DeMorgan's use 
of "preparation," with which, as a requisite of composition, 
you are somewhat acquainted. 

Mills also gives some attention to G. B. S.'s early skit, 
Cashel Byron's Profession, which he read on a Sixth Ave- 
nue car and ' ' ensconced on a quiet bench ' ' in Central Park. 
On it he makes one acute criticism: "Chiefly, he falls 
down in that he fails to establish a single character 
that is a character from back to back." This is a dis- 
covery of the fatal weakness of all Shaw's ventures in 
fiction. 

Books and their contents played a large part in his life. 
One night, "one of the boys" from the office called in to 
see him. He had to be entertained. "I started in on 
him with poetry," says Mills, "and read him everything, 
from Browning to selections from Life. He became 
properly nauseated and hasn't recovered yet. But I 
forgot to mention that he tried to smoke a cigar a little 
stronger than he was." 

All this time Mills was longing for his own books which 
were down in Statesville. He was lonely without them and 
broaches the subject of having them sent to him, again 
and again. In general, uncertainty as to whether he 
would change rooms or not held him back ; then, he did not 
want his mother to have the trouble of packing them and 
his father was too ill ; he was always thinking of someone 
else's interests. At last, he compromised on a bundle, 
and these are the books he asked to have put into it: 
Browning, Wundt's Principles of Morality and his set of 
Shakespeare. He explains, "I am sure they will enable 



Stimulus of Spring 131 

me to spend some hours with satisfaction to myself and my 
pocketbook." 

But, as the springtime came on, there was an appeal to 
him in the open air that perhaps only those who grew up in 
the country can realize and beside which all indoor 
attractions paled. On March 15, a Sunday, he writes: 

The past few days have been too good to be true. I am now 
seated in my palatial apartment with my one window wide 
open and no fire, and the temperature is precisely right. How 
I would like to have a chance at a few days of the springtime 
down home now ! I didn't know before that I could really miss 
birds and flowers to such a degree. It doesn't seem right not 
to be able to get a smell of the woods. I have been consoling 
myself these bright days by strolling down to the seawall dur- 
ing my odd minutes and watching the ships lying along the 
docks. In the bustle and noise and the strange odors mixed 
with the taste of the salt in the air and the curious people one 
sees there, there is much to take one out of oneself as the 
awakening of the year does at home, although not in so deli- 
cate a way. There is an element of undisguisable curiosity in 
the feeling here, and curiosity is always vulgar. 

A few lines further on, he says : ' ' The past week was a 
record breaker with me. I did not go out to a single show. 
Somehow I couldn't get interested in running around; it 
seemed to be too nice to be able to stay at home when I 
had the chance." 

In spite of a good deal of show going, his home, soHtary 
though it was, remained a primary interest. Indeed his 
life was made up principally of his work and his home, and 
the former was to a large extent the reason for the shows. 
His "job" on The Evening Sun became more and more 
exacting and he constantly wrote outside matter. Re- 
laxation was imperative. His day began at 5 A.M. for many 
weeks; at six he was at the office; he was on duty always 
for eight "rarely for ten" hours; usually he got lunch, 



132 One Who Gave His Life 

sometimes not. When he reached home, he was ready for 
a nap and often slept for two to four hours before 
dinner. "When I have been in the office most of the 
day," he says, "it pays me to get out and walk after 
dinner. Otherwise I am apt to lie awake when I turn in 
for my second bout of sleep after midnight. ' ' Sometimes, 
instead, he went home "for a good quiet smoke and a 
bit of reading. But I like to go to shows pretty often and 
have seen nearly two a week for my time here. It is about 
my only form of dissipation and I think it will repay me 
from a financial standpoint later. As Sunday is the only 
morning I can sleep, I bury my alarm clock in my trunk 
Saturday night and it is usually more -the afternoon than 
the morning that I open my eyes on, catching up on all 
the sleep I have lost the week before." 

Later still he took up bowling; he had acquired some 
skill in the game at Statesville. Now he found it neces- 
sary to preserve the balance between physical and mental 
exercise. "Have been dreadfully sore," he writes after 
beginning practice, "but am satisfied that it is needed. 
May not become a Samson, but I will get a good deal 
harder in muscle, something I need." In 1909, when he 
had more funds, he joined the gymnasium classes of the 
Washington Heights Y. M. C. A. He found such exercise 
absolutely necessary in order to keep fit. He kept it up 
until he entered the training camp at Plattsburg in 191 7. 
There it proved its value when he took up the hard work 
of marching and drilling and bayonet practice. Though 
slight in frame, he was wiry and supple and always kept 
himself physically at top notch. 

Of his quarters on Washington Place, he speaks with 
enjoyment. The fare agreed with him and the people 
were amusing, including some Greeks who "raved in pages 
from Sophocles," a sculptor who played the flute and a 
blonde widow with a couple of frigid daughters. "I like 



Friend Thomas 133 

some of the crowd," he tells his mother, but, undoubtedly, 
his great attraction was Thomas the cat, who seems at 
first to have been a furtive denizen of the kitchen shadows, 
but through his influence became a prime favorite of the 
upstairs regions before he departed. They had their 
differences like all true friends, but Thomas came to fill 
an intimate and empty spot in Mills's heart. There had 
always been pets at Statesville. The cat purring on his 
childish knees, while his mother read aloud, will be remem- 
bered. Enter the boarding house favorite : 

Tom is seated blissfully on my sofa pillow in comfortable 
proximity to the gas stove, and is enjoying an extra degree of 
contentment after a feast of chicken bones over in the corner. 
We have got thicker and thicker, have Tom and I, with much 
addition to our common happiness. If he does not accompany 
me upstairs when I come in, he usually wanders up and applies 
his voice to the chinks of my door some time before morning, 
if he is in the house. He has reached the point of taking abso- 
lute possession when he comes in, and sulks if I don't give him 
everything he demands. His usual roost for the night is under 
the comfort on my bed, where he serves in the capacity of a 
foot warmer and music box as well. It makes him very 
irate if I do any kicking around after I get under cover. If 
I do disturb his position, he growls and tackles the offending 
limb through the covers most ferociously. As he makes a 
comfortable plaster for a cold back, I generally keep still. I 
don't know what I'd do without him now. He is such good 
company. 

Then he tells of Thomas's kittenish rejuvenation over a 
catnip ball and he sends one home for the family cats. 
Presently, by way of joke, he tipped Thomas into the 
washstand and shut him in. A dazed cat emerged and 
began hunting for the enemy who had so betrayed him, 
never suspecting the half-repentant Mills. A long and 
detailed account of an act of performing cats at the 



134 One Who Gave His Life 

Hippodrome follows. He bombarded his mother with cat 
postal cards — photographs of fancy cats, cat valentines 
and cat comedy sketches — his love of cats and other 
animals was overflowing. He got soaked "to the bone" 
reporting a workhorse parade in a torrential rain, but he 
didn't mind a bit; "it was worth it to see the horses. 
You [his mother] would have liked to be there." 

At last, indeed, he was forced to quarrel with Thomas 
for room in the bed for his toes, which the amiable brute 
tried to mangle with teeth and claws. However, after 
some discipline in outer darkness on the chiny stairs there 
was a reconciliation. "We have become an established 
institution in this house," he sums up; "and he is referred 
to as my 'gentleman friend.' Really he has come to take 
up a large per cent, of the conversation at meal times and is 
considered as equal to any of the rest of the white folk." 
At one time, he says, he has discussed with Thomas the 
proposition of moving to Harlem and taking him along 
whenever he went there and Thomas cordially consented. 
But, when the time came, he changed his mind. Thomas 
was established in comfort at Miss Jarmen's and he would 
not risk bringing him among strangers, where he might not 
be appreciated or welcomed. They all wanted to keep 
him in the old place, "so you see my time has not been 
entirely wasted here in Manhattan, for I have made Tom a 
fixture at 115." 

The holidays did not affect the tenor of Mills's way to 
any great extent. He chose them as days to write home 
and his mind dwelt much on the old times in Statesville. 
He had to work on Thanksgiving day so he was not lonely. 
He and Doohan feasted at a restaurant and he found much 
to be thankful for, including the fact that his father and 
mother "were having a pleasant day out in N. C." He 
had so good a dinner that he dwells on the prolonged dis- 
tention of his waistband. It was seasoned with "some 



Holiday Joys i35 

good laughs" and after it he walked down Sixth Avenue 
home, reflecting gratefully: "I have my job, while lots 
of poor fellows are getting down and out since money has 
grown so scarce." He realized that his position was 
growing strong on The Evening Sim and he encloses the 
clipping of a story which made him feel "mighty good" 
because "most of the men in the ofEce submitted Thanks- 
giving stories and mine was the only one used." The 
heading of the story was Coon Landed in the Punch-bowl — 
But It Recalled Old-Time Thanksgiving Hunt — So the Major 
Didn't Mind. It was a spirited sketch of Southern life of 
about fifteen hundred words. 

Christmas day was another occasion for letter writing. 
The celebration began the evening before when he and two 
other reporters went to Madame Volanti's on Eleventh 
street — cherished resort of young and economical Bohemia. 
"There, with our feet in the saw^dust and our heads full of 
vino we had a very large Christmas eve. After dinner I 
came home and read The Scarlet Letter! ' ' Evidently the 
vino was moderate in quality and quantity. To get rid of 
lonesomeness he went out walking at 1 1 o'clock and met 
two college mates "neither of whom I had any idea was 
within five hundred miles of New York." They "made 
a bright streak along Broadway" but got home safe 
though late. The day brought another University friend 
and the best dinner money could buy with him and 
Doohan. New Year's Day was marked by only two reso- 
lutions: to write fewer letters and sleep more — both of 
which he renewed frequently, but neither of which he kept. 

He also spent his twenty -fourth birthday, January 15, 
1908, alone in the big city. The previous day, he wrote: 
"I am sure that I am much younger to-day than when I 
came to New York City. Pretty old, though, it seems for 
a fellow just starting out in life with the foundation to lay 
still and everything to make. But it might be worse. 



136 One Who Gave His Life 

My start is at least not discouraging." He touches again 
on the subject of his age in a letter written just a month 
laterand speaks of himself, oddly, as "almost twenty-five." 
He adds, "not so many years, but probably half of the 
number that will be allotted to me." He could have no 
vision then that he had hardly more than ten ahead of him, 
nor of the great cause that was to make his death a greater 
achievement than his life. 

During all these months when he walked the ways of a 
young Bohemian and gradually assimilated the manners 
of the city and the technics of his craft, his heart was never 
wholly detached from the scenes of his childhood and 
youth. His longing for the woods, and birds and flowers 
has been seen. His letters are full of affectionate recollec- 
tions of home. His faith as a Tar Heel was also quite 
invincible. He met all sorts of North Carolinians, exiles 
like himself, and his interest in them was vivid. One of 
them, Charles Katzenstein by name, was a post-graduate 
student at Columbia, and in March took part in an inter- 
collegiate debate: 

Well, Katzenstein lost out, but it was his team-mate's fault; 
he did more than his part. I certainly felt proud that a North 
Carolina man could make such a show against men from big 
universities. He was about the best on deck. . . . Neither 
the Columbia nor the Pennsylvania team put up such a debate 
as a Carolina pair can. U. N. C. may be a little place and 
tucked into the backwoods but it is not without its uses just the 
same. 

A visit made by Rae Logan to New York in June was a 
gala event. They had a rollicking time which included 
everything from the Metropolitan Museum to Coney 
Island and the Bronx Zoo. It was all too short to suit 
Mills. Yet they went such a pace of sightseeing that 
Quincy wrote to his mother on a picture postal card: 



Vital Speculation i37 

"Rae left this morning. It was a pretty good thing for 
me. We ran ourselves about to death and he didn't have 
to go to work. That last night at Coney was a dazzler." 
He tells his mother that he sits down and goes through 
his Landmark, the Statesville newspaper, first thing on its 
arrival. This is evident all through the letters as he 
many times comments sympathetically on the personal 
news he finds in it, as also that conveyed in his mother's 
letters. Many of these expressions are too intimate for 
quotation. All show strong family attachment and 
warm sentiments toward old friends, also, perhaps, an 
occasional dash of acidity as regards persons not so re- 
garded. One passage may be given for the sake of its 
revelation of his own attitude on the most vital of all 
questions. The letter is undated, but is postmarked 
March 9, 1908. He writes; 

After your apprising me of his condition I was not surprised 
to learn of Mr. Dowd's death. How sorry I feel for "Miss 
Fannie." When people are happy together, how unjust it 
seems that they should be parted, but I believe that is usually 
the way. Why must everybody be always unhappy? Peace 
seems denied to all alike. The threadbare explanation of 
original sin doesn't appeal to me. There is too much of such 
stuff in religion — or dogma, rather — as people make it. Omar s 
view. 

What, by his helpless creature be repaid 
Pure gold for what he lent him dross allayed ! 

And so on, appeals to me much more just here. 

The love of family and home gives tone and color to 
every experience. His watchful care as to his parents, his 
desire for a resumption of the old united life assert them- 
selves over and over again. His father's health was not 
good at this time and he repeatedly urged an operation 



138 One Who Gave His Life 

that promised to effect a cure. He returns to the subject 
at every opportunity. Finally his advice was taken with 
the happiest results. The operation was performed with- 
out any forewarning to him in order to spare him anxiety. 
His reply to the letter telling of its success was a cry from 
the heart, compounded of simple affection and opti- 
mistic good sense, though he was reproachful over the 
concealment. 

His father's Statesville business also gave him concern 
and he advised that advantage be taken of a prosperous 
period to dispose of it and transfer the headquarters of the 
family permanently to New York. His advice was finally 
adopted, but before that came to pass, Quincy himself 
made not one, but two flittings. The heat and noise and 
swelter of lower New York became intolerable to him in 
May, and he took a room at No. 353 West 1 19th Street, in 
a pleasant house kept by a Mrs. Collins. He had a larger 
and better furnished room at a small increase of cost. ' ' I 
got out," he says. "The purpose hit me one day, and I 
moved the next." His friend Katzenstein was already 
there. ' ' You cannot imagine what a difference there is in 
the noise, ' ' he writes ; and again : ' ' The feel of the air is an 
encouragement to work in itself." 

Of course, he became interested in all the cats of the 
neighborhood. The neatly sodded and planted back- 
yards were a feast to his eye in contrast with the anti- 
quated squalor of Washington Place and vicinity. He 
took lively notice of the ways of the surrounding popu- 
lation, especially the "free vaudeville show" furnished 
nightly "long about bedtime" by an unconscious young 
lady across the block until a spontaneous burst of applause 
from some young fellows caused her to pull down the 
blinds. In these letters of Mills's not only his own life but 
the everyday incidents of all life in New York stand out 
with realistic vividness. 



Bachelor Housekeeping 139 

The only drawback to the new quarters seems to have 
been a plague of mosquitoes that year. He describes 
Hariem as smelling like "a colossal joss-house" because of 
the incense sticks that girls wore in their hair and every- 
one carried about to ward them off, and in spite of which 
"staccato whacks constantly resounded through the 
evening air." However, he was utterly tired of boarding 
house experience. He had had four years of it at Chapel 
Hill as a prelude to almost a year in New York. He now 
determined on a totally new experiment and with a friend, 
a young New Englander, a civil engineer and a graduate of 
Cornell, he took, on August i, a small apartment at No. 
161 Manhattan Avenue, where he remained until the 
complete reunion of the family in October. 

The apartment was sublet, furnished, and, of course, 
there was a cat. Buster, "whom" Perry, the Cornell man, 
did not appreciate as much as Mills. There was a com- 
plete kitchen and the two cooked their own meals. Mills 
reveled in their bills of fare, one of which he gives : "broiled 
steak (best sort), baked potatoes, toast, tomatoes, lettuce, 
milk, tea, crullers and fruit." He further explains: 
"We vary every night. Sometimes our piece de resistance 
is pork chops, again it is sausage or fish. We have fried 
potatoes, with onions to match, egg toast, etc. The only 
rule of the house is that whoever mentions boiled potatoes 
or pot roast gets pitched down the dumbwaiter shaft." 
This was, of course, an anti-boarding house reaction. 
They ' ' started dinner after six and had the dishes stacked 
by eight," so the evening was clear for reading, writing or 
going out. Buster, by the way, was only a kitten at the 
start and had a teddy bear to play with. He was a 
jealous cat and if Mills petted the bear. Buster sprang 
upon it and rent it with his claws. An orchestra in 
a caf6 nearby accompanied all the proceedings with 
varied selections, from Tr ova tore to the Merry Wid, 



140 One Who Gave His Life 

Quincy and his friend occupied the apartment until 
November i . 

One of the concerns that tried him as this first year in 
New York wore on was his maiden vote. He was resolved 
not to cast it for Mr. Taft; but Colonel W. J. Bryan 
appealed to him even less. He talked in his letters of 
throwing it away on the Prohibition candidate, but there 
is no clue as to how he finally decided. Perhaps he moved 
so often that year that he was not qualified to register when 
the time came. 

At one period he had been attracted by socialistic 
theories, at least to the extent of examining and analyzing 
them. His strong common sense and logical faculty saved 
him from their lure. The cure was made perfect by a 
visit on Easter Sunday to the Church of the Ascension, 
where the Rev. Percy Stickney Grant was endeavoring to 
mingle radicalism with the Gospel. ' ' I once thought, ' ' he 
wrote home, "that I might have some rudiments of 
socialism in my make-up. Not so! Please excuse me 
from anything savoring of the brand I heard last night." 
In a letter to his father he was even more contemptuous of 
the hybrid cult. He almost got to the point of calling 
names. 



CHAPTER V 

Activities and Acquaintances of a Star Reporter — Roosevelt and 
MiTCHEL — College Debts Paid Off — Conventions and Vacations 
— Religious Stirrings. 

Mr. Mills finally broke away from Statesville for good 
and all and returned to New York. He arrived on 
September i8 or 19, 1908, as indicated by a card from 
Quincy to his mother, postmarked the 19th, 5 p.m., and 
expressing pleasure at his father's looking to be "in better 
shape than I have seen him in years." Mr. Mills formed 
a business connection at once, as Quincy wrote to his 
mother. Mrs. Mills remained with relatives in States- 
ville until October when she came to New York. The 
family was once more reunited at the beginning of Novem- 
ber and the old life, with necessary modifications, was 
resumed in an apartment on Washington Heights. 

This was indeed a happy change for all three of this long 
separated group, but it was by no means so fortunate for 
the present narrative, since, with the cessation of Quincy's 
letters home, the great source of firsthand information 
regarding his ways of living, his modes of thought, his 
expanding mind and character is cut off. However, from 
sundry sources, scrapbooks and newspaper clippings, a 
few notes and postcards and a diary in which he jotted 
down fitfully some of his doings in 1 910, 191 1, and the early 
part of 1 9 12, some light can be extracted. 

One thing which exercised him greatly was the search 
for a religious or spiritual anchorage. It has been seen 

141 



142 One Who Gave His Life 

that old-fashioned orthodoxy had no appeal for him. He 
visited many churches of many sects and listened eagerly. 
He came away unsatisfied. He gave a trial of some du- 
ration to the Ethical Culture Association and he has left 
a large collection of its tracts and pamphlets, some of them 
marked, showing careful study. He also experimented 
with Unitarianism but got no satisfaction to his soul. At 
the same time, he read deeply on religious questions. Is 
Life Worth Living? by William James was one of the books ; 
another was Ethics of the New Testament by David Saville 
Muzzey. He read Matthew Arnold's God and the Bible and 
Andrew Lang's Myth, Ritual and Religious, simultane- 
ously. The latter, he found the less interesting and rated 
it as material for future thought. Arnold's work he pro- 
nounced ' ' as near to being a perfect statement of the hazy 
religious views we [himself and his mother] have attempted 
to discuss together as I expect ever to find. . . . After 
calmly demolishing the personal God theory, the miracular 
and the metaphysical bases upon which all so-called ortho- 
dox Biblical interpretation is founded, he starts in to show 
that while these are all wrong there is in the Bible the 
foundation for all the comfort, all the encouragement and 
the inspiration that is claimed for it and much more. . . . 
At this juncture, about all the harvest I have reaped is 
that I came like water and like wind I go — of which I 
already had an abundant crop ready garnered and in 
storage." He concluded: "While Arnold made it very 
clear as to what I should not believe, he gave me little 
assistance in a positive direction, just as I feared. Further- 
more, I don't beHeve anybody ever will." 

The upshot was that he adhered to no sect and joined no 
spiritual organization. Soon his quest after a clear light 
ceased. He settled into a state of quietude — not without 
a latent interest in the great issue — and a receptive calm. 
He pitched his life according to the high ideals which he 



Thoughts of Two Worlds 143 

had cultivated and trusted to destiny or Providence for the 
outcome. In this respect, he adopted the attitude of more 
than one of his forbears of the Scotch-Irish strain. 
Wundt's Principles of Morality had been a favorite of his 
since college days and Victor Hugo's Intellectual Autobiog- 
raphy became and remained a sort of vade mecum to 
him as to things of higher import. He sent a copy of the 
Hugo to his mother as a Christmas present in 1907 with a 
letter in which he says : "I am sending you a book that 
you will like. I am more daffy about it than you are 
about Shaw. . . . Knowing that you wouldn't object, 
I have marked it well. . . . Note especially the develop- 
ment of the theme in 'Supreme Contemplations' and the 
ideals of religion and the Deity expressed in 'Life and 
Death,' 'Things of the Infinite' and 'God.' The 'Thoughts' 
are full of meat too. The things we have talked over, many 
of them, you will find identical with the views expressed." 
More has to be said of this further on. These works and 
Browning's poems were the steady companions and coun- 
sellors for years of his hours of thought and study. 

At the same time his thoughts were not all of another 
world. He was very much alive and very human. Just 
one more extract from a letter written to his mother shortly 
before the family reunion, to illustrate his attitude of 
mind; after speaking incredulously of the report that a 
cousin was on the road to matrimony, Quincy writes : 

When Durand puts on a high collar and starts, right then 
am I going to get busy and find a maiden before they all get 
mortgaged. When he gets excited, it will be high time to 
hurry. Speaking of your future daughter-in-law, you needn't 
worry yourself to any marvellous extent on that subject. She 
hasn't been roped yet. But you had better nerve yourself 
against the time when she is cornered, for I am going to do it 
all at once and the first you will know about it will be when I 
lead her up in front of you and say: "Maw! Here she is; I 



144 One Who Gave His Life 

hope you'll love each other." Then, while I go around the 
corner, it will be up to you two to fall upon each other's 
necks. 

Considering the success his verse writing had at college 
and an undoubted facility in metre and rhyme, it is odd 
that he made little or no effort to utilize the gift after 
reaching New York. Just once he tried his hand on a 
merry bit for the comic weeklies, but unsuccessfully. 
Indeed he seems to have taken less pains than with his 
earlier trials and to have fallen short of their technical 
merits. However, as the piece illustrates his attitude 
of mind at this time, it is interesting for biographical if 
not for poetic reasons. It will be observed that he 
follows here, as in his lines to the college bell, the Maiid 
Muller rhyming of the participle "been": 

It's Different 

It's different, very different. 

Or so the critics say, 
With the poets and the nearly-verse 

Hashed out by them to-day 
And the bards whose liquid measures 

Were once well worth the pay — 
Beyond a doubt the signs all point 

To poesy's decay. 

No denying that it's different, 

But, granting this decline 
And that the rhymesters of the hour 

Have missed the drink divine, 
When Sappho trilled the lyric muse 

And Virgil wrote his line 
The vintners hadn't learned to put 

Condensed lye in their wine. 

And it very rarely happened, 
'Way back in Homer's time, 



The Merry Muse i45 

That you had to dodge a taxicab 

While digging out your rhyme; 
And when Maecenas read the dope 

'Twas easy work to climb, 
For he passed out a bag of gold 

Where now they toss a dime. 

And Horace, Ovid, and the bunch, 

At verses all so pat. 
Had to pound no bucking typers 

After going on a bat ; 
Nor did Dante's ideal ever wear 

A Merry Widow hat, 
Or Shakespeare's have to dink it in 

A five-room Harlem flat. 

Now all this makes a difference — 

You bet it does — and when 
We poets dream of bygone times 

And sigh for what has been. 
We know full well those golden days 

Are not to come again 
For this is proof, ah, era bkst, 

There were no critics then! 

The last time he ever tried his hand at verse was in a 
few burlesque stanzas, left unfinished. They were 
written apropos of a visit which the mother and sister of 
his partner in the apartment housekeeping enterprise 
made to them. They are quite informing in their way as 
well as jocund, so a few stanzas from the fragment of Ye 
Ballade of Ye Fayre Cookye may be interesting : 

Ye cookye came from Boston towne, 

In ye nicke o' tyme came she ; 
Ye batch club bunch was lyke to drowne 

To end their misery. 



146 One Who Gave His Life 

Their toast was burnt, their steak was tough, 

Their jaws, they ached full sore; 
Ye table talk at tymes waxed rough, 
She should have come before. 

Ye cookye looked ye place about, 

And rolled up both her sleeves ; 
Ye grime and grease she put to rout, 

As wynde ye autumn leaves. 

Ye cookye doffed her coat of blue, 

(Oh, she was f ayre to see !) 
She pursed her lips with purpose true 

And said: "Leave this to me." 

Ye pots and pans, they whirled around, 

As by a cyclone spun; 
Ye neighbors at ye fearsome sound, 

Brought firemen on ye run. 

Pity there is no more of it. It was just a skit, but it 
was characteristic. From this time on. Mills had no time 
for poetry. He threw all his energies into his true 
vocation. He was consumingly busy with newspaper 
prose. 

He made steady progress in The Evening Sun office. He 
gained a reputation for wide awakeness and for accuracy. 
His writing improved rapidly. He had lightness of 
touch, clearness and vivacity of style. Higher and 
higher grades of work were entrusted to him and with 
them came successive increases of pay; he had one in 1909 
and two in 19 10. These enabled him to throw off one 
burden. It will be recalled that he was in debt for a 
large part of the expense of his education and his coming 
to New York and it has been seen how he paid off his loans 
at the Statesville bank out of his correspondence and 
special work for the Charlotte Observer. He was reducing 



Sound in Business i47 

simultaneously out of his New York earnings debts to 
friends who had helped him. These being disposed of, he 
took up several notes that he had given to the University 
of North Carolina for tuition fees. The last of these, two 
notes for $30 each, dated January 4, 1906, and January i, 
1907, he paid in January, 1910. A letter from Mr. A. E. 
Woltz, the Bursar, acknowledges receipt of the draft on the 
29th, adding: "This covers your entire account with us, so 
far as we know." 

Mrs. Mills in writing of this matter points out the 
difficulty Quincy must have had in accomplishing this 
end out of the slender salary which he had been receiving 
down to this time. It was a feat of resolution and self- 
sacrifice. "How we did celebrate when it was finally 
paid off ! " she says. Mills never again went into debt for 
anything. He had a horror of owing money and though he 
often helped others, he never borrowed. He was exact 
and careful in business matters and at the same time 
generous and liberal. By saving and investment he 
gathered in the eight years which he had still to live a 
substantial estate, yet he had always money available for 
every proper purpose. His mother owned considerable 
property in North Carolina, a house in Statesville, and 
timber lands approaching maturity but as yet providing 
no income. The taxes on these holdings was a heavy 
liability. * ' Just as soon as the burden of debt was removed 
from his shoulders," Mrs. Mills records, "Quincy relieved 
me of the expense of keeping up the taxes and assessments. 
Otherwise I could not have held the property so as to 
secure its full value. What a mockery it is to have the 
profit now, when he is not here to share it." 

The career of a crack reporter is very little more than a 
summary of the news from day to day. It would be an 
endless and essentially a tedious process to follow all the 



148 One Who Gave His Life 

details of Mills's activities. He remained in charge of the 
Curb Market only a short time — until January, 1909. 
It was seen that he was thrown away on mere copying of 
figures. He was next assigned to general reporting and 
was employed on all the leading events with a constantly 
accentuated slant toward politics. 

Walter L. Hawley, the regular City Hall reporter for 
The Evening Sun, was in failing health about that time. 
He was frequently unable to cover the field and Mills was 
constantly sent over to help him. Unhappily he died in 
the early part of the year and from that time until 191 5 
Mills was in charge of the department save when detached 
for special duty. April 13 was the first day on which he 
supplied all the news from "the Hall"; it was not an un- 
lucky date for him. He began with four long display 
head articles. Work never frightened him. He supplied 
reams of copy, grave and gay. George B. McClellan 
was Mayor at the time. Mills therefore served at the City 
Hall during the terms of three chief magistrates, Mc- 
Clellan, Judge Gaynor and John Purroy Mitchel. He had 
the confidence and good will of all three. 

By the time the fall of 1909 arrived, he was rated one 
of the best men on The Evening Sun staff. This is shown 
by the fact that he was one of those assigned to "cover" 
the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, which ran from Septem- 
ber 25 to October 9, an event of national, indeed of 
international importance, seeing that squadrons of war- 
ships from all parts of the world as well as a great Ameri- 
can fleet participated. His press card, admitting him 
everywhere, is among his souvenirs. His scrapbooks show 
that he did much of the principal narrative and descrip- 
tive work. Besides, he suggested a column of ' ' Sidelights 
on the Big Show," a daily collection of short anecdotes 
of spectators' experiences and incidental sketches of the 
visitors who thronged to New York. The idea w^as 



Hudson-Fulton Sketches 149 

adopted, and Mills won much commendation for it. 
Hundreds of amusing items resulted, of which he himself 
wrote a large number. The * ' feature ' ' was a great success 
for the paper. This sort of matter is for the most part but 
of momentary interest, but here is a paragraph of his 
that has a lasting suggestion : 

One of the things that will be missed most [after the show] 
will be the musical jangle of the ships' bells striking out the 
hours, especially during the night. Not that the Harlemites 
haven't clocks to keep them posted as to the time without 
reference to the sailorman's six or eight bells, but then there is 
something pleasing about hearing those strokes ring out on the 
still night air, beginning so far up the river as to be scarcely 
audible and passing on from ship to ship by bells, no two of 
which have the same tone, until they are lost in the opposite 
distance. It is surprising how far those chimes can penetrate 
at night, and how they have come to be the customary thing. 
It will be hard to get along without them. 

Some of the items were mere quips or jests : 

The float " Titania" was passing and the pair who looked as 
if they might be a trifle weak on literary information were 
studying the pantomine of Bottom and the Fairy Queen with 
manifest interest. 

"What do you make of it, hey. Bill?" inquired No. i. 

"That," replied Bill, who had evidently fared badly of late 
in the lists of love, "why, that means that any feller as gets 
daffy over a woman ought to have a donkey's head stuck on 
his neck." 

And Shakespeare being interpreted, the float passed on. 

A diner at a restaurant in show week looked rather blue 
when he received his check. 

"What's the matter, old man?" asked a man near him. 
"Broke?" 



150 One Who Gave His Life 

"Not yet, friend," replied the sorrowful one, " but I'm — well, 
bent." 

And again : 

In front of his place of business an enterprising saloon 
keeper uptown has hung this sign, brilliantly studded with 
electric lights and with a hand pointing to his door : " To the 
warships." 

"He's about right," said one man who read the sign. "One 
schooner is harmless enough, but a sufficient number of them 
can certainly start a handsome battle." 

As the years wore on, politics, as distinguished from 
municipal routine, began to figure more and more in the 
clippings which Mills made of his work and of which his 
mother has a large collection. We have seen that he 
developed his first interest in politics as a boy at his 
mother's knee when she read aloud to his grandmother 
the transactions of the North Carolina Legislature. 
"When he took up journalism as an occupation he had 
the ultimate purpose of making it a road to public life; 
he never gave up that idea and he purposely specialized 
on politics as a method of approach toward his goal. His 
first large experience was in the municipal election of 1909 
when William J. Gaynor, the Democratic nominee, was 
victorious over Otto T. Bannard in a super-heated mayor- 
alty contest. 

Mayor Gaynor was inaugurated on January i, 1910, and 
Mills had curious experiences with him, as everyone had. 
Of these something is recorded in the diary which he kept 
by fits and starts that year. On Tuesday, January 4, 
this entry occurs : ' ' Informed by Mayor Gaynor that I 
had no manners." The explanation appears on January 
8: "The Mayor's objection to my manners was that I 
held him up on the portico of the City Hall. He didn't 



Clashes with Gay nor 151 

like that way of applying for news. But he will have 
to get used to it." 

This was rather a rough beginning, but the Mayor soon 
came around, as witness this note: 

March 15, Tues: Mayor Gaynor's dinner at the Hotel 
Knickerbocker. Will not soon forget how he proved himself 
to be a judge of good wine as well as a scholar and jurist. He 
did me the honor to remark that The Evening Sun printed the 
most intelligent news from the City Hall. Wonder when he 
is planning to kick me. 

The Mayor's oddities of temper were well known. 
However, relations went on improving : 

April 5, Tues: Mayor Ga3mor complimented me by asking 
me to brief a story for him. "I have noticed that your stories 
are mighty accurate and I want to get this one right." 

The inevitable "hitch" soon came, also its rebound: 

April 22, Fri: Another compliment from Mhyor Gaynor. 
This time I was a liar, or, at least, a near-liar. Am getting 

into favor. Gaynor accused of being a thief and then 

made him . What is being reserved for me ? 

April 23, Sat: Today the Mayor stopped me in the corridor 
to sop over his slip of yesterday. Said I handled the excise 
question better than anyone else. What a joke ! The trouble 
was that he didn't like the way I reported his address at the 
Chamber of Commerce. The truth is not always pleasant to 
see in print. 

July 12, Tues: With Mayor Gaynor in his automobile up 
to De Witt Clinton Park to see the children on their "farms." 
Mr. Gaynor was as gracious as it is in his nature to be. 

Mills was away on vacation when Mayor Gaynor was 
shot on the deck of a ship at a Hoboken pier as he was 



152 One Who Gave His Life 

about to sail for Europe. On his return, on August 30, 
19 10, he wrote : ' ' Learned that while I was away Gay nor 
expressed the opinion that I promised more than any of 
the reporters at the Hall as to prospects." 

He grew in the Mayor's esteem steadily, down to the 
latter's death in September, 1913. The Mayor con- 
sidered appointing him to one of the minor commissioner- 
ships in the city government. Mr. Robert Adamson, who 
was transferred from the post of Secretary to the Mayor 
to that of Fire Commissioner, urged Mills not once but 
twice to become his secretary ; but Mills realized that he 
had not yet gone his full way in journalism, and declined. 
These were only the first of several offers he had to enter 
politics by way of office-holding. Besides several offers 
from the Municipal service, in April, 19 14, Mr. Eugene 
Lamb Richardson, the New York State Superintendent of 
Banking, tried to woo him from the newspaper field into 
his department. 

On February 23, 1910, Mills was sent to Albany to 
report the struggle between ' ' Fingy ' ' Connors and Charles 
F. Murphy over the Chairmanship of the Democratic 
State Committee. Incidentally he records his enjoyment 
of the frozen Hudson shining in the light of a full moon. 
"You did damn well yesterday," was Mr. Cooper's com- 
ment on his work when he reported at the office 
on his return. As to his early experiences at Albany — 
they became varied — there is an undated letter, also with- 
out postmark, which gives a gloomy impression of the 
standards prevailing there, that is shared by many news- 
paper men. It was written to his mother and in it he said : 

Watching the legislature working has been interesting and 
valuable. After witnessing the process of grinding out laws 
and looking over the sort of men who do the grinding, anyone 
must wonder, not that laws are so bad but that they are no 
worse. You will be surprised to know that the ablest men here 



Mills and Roosevelt 153 

are the Tammany men, and likable men at that. Also their 
morals are certainly no worse than those of their Republican 
contemporaries. 

On August 26 he saw the end of the Connors fight at the 
HofTman House, when the redoubtable "Fingy" stepped 
down and John A. Dix was elected to succeed him. On 
August 16, he reported the meeting of the Republican 
State Committee at which Colonel Roosevelt, as he puts 
it, was "repudiated " ; what happened was that his choice 
for Chairman of the State Convention was rejected. 

Mills had already made Colonel Roosevelt's acquaint- 
ance. It was on June i8, upon the occasion of the 
spectacular return from Africa. "Saw him land at the 
Battery," reads the diary entry. "Quite an ovation. 
Whatever one's opinion of him, the Colonel has a mighty 
winning personality." Mills thought enough of the event 
to keep his ticket of admission to Pier A as a memento. 

He reported the Democratic State Convention at 
Rochester in September. It was his first experience 
of the kind. Mayor Gaynor's withdrawal as a candidate 
for Governor "knocked all the interest out of the gather- 
ing. ... If this is a sample, I care for no more. . . . 
About the hardest and least satisfactory job I ever 
tackled." But Mr. Cooper telegraphed him: "The 
report of convention proceedings is just what we want. 
Please continue throughout in this style, giving a picture 
of what is doing." Before returning home, he visited 
Niagara Falls. Plainly he was out of sorts for he writes : 
"The American Falls disappointing." 

In 191 1, following up his Hudson-Fulton hit, he in- 
vented a column which he first called "City Hall Notes" 
and later "At the City Hall." He started it on May i6, 
and it ran for many months. He took great pride and 
great pains in making it entertaining. It consisted of 



154 One Who Gave His Life 

short items between dashes, mainly of humorous or per- 
sonal interest. This was an off-year in politics, but the 
Subway issue was a burning topic of municipal news. 
Among the hundreds of squibs, many were about it. One 
day Colonel Williams of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit 
Company visited the City Hall. Of course he was asked 
the why and wherefore. "I hear," he replied, "they're 
giving away golden apples over here." Whereupon an 
Interborough man commented, "I wonder if Williams 
knows the difference between an apple and a lemon." 

Mills reported the entire struggle over the great plans 
and contracts. It ran through years and he continued to 
handle it in Mayor Mitchel's term when the "Dual Con- 
tract" was concluded between the City and the Inter- 
borough and Brooklyn Rapid Transit companies. He 
became an expert on the entire subject and always kept 
his knowledge up to date to the close of his service for 
The Evening Sim. 

He also contributed his mite to an amusing controversy 
which started in all the newspapers that year and has 
continued intermittently ever since. These short squibs 
show him in his mood of gayety : 

The Library Lions 

To THE Editor of The Evening Sun — Sir : The minute that I 
laid eyes on your "library lions" I felt perfectly at home on 
Fifth Avenue. We have thousands of just such beasts run- 
ning loose in the long leaf pine woods down here. We call 
them razorbacks. M. 

Frog Level, Ga., July 24. 

To the Editor of The Evening Sun — Sir: Your concern 
as to the species of the animals chosen by the sculptor to grace 
either side of the entrance to your new Public Library is all 
the more pitiable in that it displays your ignorance. You 
have evidently never seen a blind tiger. You should pay a 



Reporting the Colonel 155 

visk to North Carolina, now that the state has gone dry. I 
was certain of the identification as soon as I saw the works of 
art in question on my recent visit to your city. Tar Heel. 
Charlotte, N. C, July 25. 

From the time of Colonel Roosevelt's arrival from 
Africa, Mills had practically a monopoly of reporting him 
for The Evening Sun. No other reporter, when he could 
be reached until he graduated into editorial work, was 
ever assigned to interview the Colonel, or describe his 
doings. He came to like the Colonel and admire him, 
but w^as never swept ofT his feet into the ecstatic pose of the 
true and utter Rooseveltian. He had a clear apprecia- 
tion of Roosevelt's force and ability, but he was often 
irritated by the egotism and apparent desire to settle 
everything and dictate to everybody, which estranged so 
many people. One thing seems to have surprised him 
very much, a frequent disregard of formality. He spoke 
at home with great surprise of the Colonel kneeling on an 
armchair and leaning over the back of it as he talked to 
the newspaper men at Sagamore Hill. He was never in 
complete sympathy with the Colonel until the latter took 
up his great fight for American preparation to enter 
the war. 

The year 19 12 was a great one in national politics. It 
was the year of the tripartite struggle between Woodrow 
Wilson, President Taft and Roosevelt for the Presidency. 
All through the months before the Republican convention 
and again until the close of the campaign, a band of re- 
porters followed the "Progressive" insurgent leader up 
and down the country, haunted him at Oyster Bay and 
besieged him at the Outlook office. Mills was always 
chosen by his associates, themselves crack reporters, to do 
the questioning when the Colonel was to be quizzed. They 
knew the Colonel liked him and they knew that Mills could 
not be rattled or browbeaten. 



156 One Who Gave His Life 

When it came to turning the results of his interviews 
or other reportorial activities into ' ' copy " Mills showed no 
tenderness for the Colonel's feelings. He had a mordant 
satiric power, a strong sense of humor, and free rein so far 
as his paper was concerned. His stories must often have 
been sour reading for the victims of his pen. Often these 
found themselves made delightfully ridiculous; yet the 
touch was so light, the spirit so free from any trace of 
ill-nature, that they seldom grew angry. By way of 
sample of his reportorial style, his account of the famous 
upheaval in the Outlook office, printed in The Evening Sun 
of Thursday, June 19, 191 3, compels reproduction here : 

GLIMPSE AT T. R. PAY ENVELOPE. 

Colonel's Gesture Forbade Mr. Abbot to Open it. 

HOT FIRE OF NOT-A-WORD 

But There's No Scrap in the Outlook Office, Really. 

Only a motion picture operator with plenty of film, good 
elastic film capable of withstanding all sorts of strain, could 
give an adequate idea of the energetic denial made at the 
Outlook office today of the reported disagreement in that 
paper's official family which was alleged to have resulted in the 
withdrawal of W. B. Howland, for twenty-three years the 
publisher, and his two sons, Karl V. S. and Harold J. Howland, 
from the firm. It was rumored that the fuss was about a 
strike on the part of the Colonel for a raise in salary, his 
salary at the time being placed by rumor at $50,000, and that 
the Howlands got out rather than pay the raise. 

The movies operator with his machine trained on the corri- 
dor of the Outlook offices at 287 Fourth Avenue shortly after 
II o'clock would have caught the figure of Harold J. Howland 
turning the corner rapidly from the direction of the Contri- 
buting Editor's office. Mr. Howland did not appear to be 



Look-in on the "Outlook" i57 

highly elated at the opportunity to say something regarding 
the change in the firm. 

"My father and brother have said all that is to be said on the 
subject," said Mr. Rowland. 

Diligent endeavor has failed thus far to get any expression 
at all from either Mr. Rowland's father or brother. 

"Are you still as loyal a Progressive as ever?" 

"You bet I am, even if I'm not a candidate for office" — re- 
ferring to his candidacy for Congress in New Jersey last fall. 

Just at this minute Col. Roosevelt looms into view, flanked 
by his secretary and going strong. Business of hasty pressing 
of elevator button by Mr. Rowland. Elevator stops and he 
jimips in. 

"Col. Roosevelt, District Attorney Whitman visited you at 
Oyster Bay yesterday" 

' ' Not-a-word ! Not-a-word ! Not-a-word ! ' ' 

No "talky" apparatus speedy enough to take that gatling 
gun negation of the Colonel's could ever be geared up to a 
moving picture machine. 

"About the Rowlands leaving the Outlook, then?" 

' ' Not-a-word ! Not-a-word ! Not-a-word ! ' ' 

Right here Lawrence Abbot, president of the Outlook com- 
pany, breaks into the picture. Business of earnest conversa- 
tion between the Colonel and Mr. Abbot. Mr. Abbot : 

"No, Col. Roosevelt does not desire to say a word, but I 
do not object to stating that there is no basis whatever for the 
story of contention in this office. Mr. Rowland wished to 
make his change simply to carry out some ideas of his own in 
the publishing field. As for Col. Roosevelt's salary, his 
salary is" 

Business of Mr. Abbot looking inquiringly at Col. Roosevelt, 
the while the Colonel gesticulates vehemently. 

"Is" 

More vehement gesticulation. 

"Is not anything like the sum mentioned in the stories. 
The stories are grossly exaggerated. Col. Roosevelt's salary 
is" 

More vehement gesticulation from the Colonel. 



15^ One Who Gave His Life 



"Is" 

Still more vehement gesticulation. 

"Is not half the figure mentioned." 

Anyway, the public almost found out what Col. Roosevelt 
is getting. And the strain of the ordeal overwhelmed Mr. 
Abbot so completely that he nearly collapsed against the banis- 
ters. It was no use trying to run down the other rumor, which 
is to the effect that the Rowlands are going to wean the 
Colonel away to the Independent as soon as they get estab- 
lished there. The Colonel, to Mr. Abbot, grabbing his arm: 

"Oh, you were wanting to confer with me!" 

Exeunt omnes. 

Colonel Roosevelt actually formed a very high regard 
for his interrogator-general. One day he walked into the 
Reporters' Room at the City Hall and asked for ' ' my little 
friend Mills. ' ' They had a long and friendly chat together. 
In order to complete this episode, although once more 
the chronological sequence is broken, the Colonel's last 
word, written when he heard that Mills had gone to France, 
may best be given here : 

METROPOLITAN 

432 Fourth Avenue, New York 
Office of 
Theodore Roosevelt December 27, 1917. 

My dear Lieutenant Mills : 

Three cheers for you ! I am as pleased as Punch. 
With all good wishes, 

Faithfully yours, 

Theodore Roosevelt. 
Lt. Quincy S. Mills, 
Co. G. 1 68th Inf., 

American Expeditionary Forces, 
France. 

Mills was sent to both of the regular party conventions 
ini9i2, the Republican at Chicago from June 18 to June 



National Conventions 159 

22 and the Democratic at Baltimore from June 24 to 
July 2. It is hardly necessary to remind readers that 
both were occasions of turgid struggle and perfervid excite- 
ment. Mills's assignment to them shows that he had 
climbed very close to the top as a political reporter. His 
diary for the early months of this year is a condensed 
record of the notable sayings and doings of the party lead- 
ers, as they appeared in the newspapers and regardless of 
whether they were gleaned by himself or not. Apparently 
he compiled them for ready reference. Among the entries 
is this one on a January page: "On the nth, Bryan 
informed me that I was an idiot. ' ' There is no explanation, 
but The Evening Sun was not very friendly to Mr. Bryan 
and Mr. Bryan had not the temper or quality of Colonel 
Roosevelt. 

When it comes to the pages covering the convention 
dates, they are all blank. He wrote a long letter home 
from the Twentieth Century Limited on his way to 
Chicago, complaining that although there were ten packed 
cars there were neither girls nor politicians on board. 
But after that he only sent postal cards from both con- 
vention cities. He was not too busy, however, to collect 
material for this which he sent on a picture card to a 
young lady, a family friend : 

P.M., Chicago, June 5, 1912 — I wish to state right here and 
now that the charges about the size of the Chicago girls' feet 
are base slanders. Have seen some of the daintiest little feet 
imaginable and the dear damsels are about the prettiest in 
this town that I have ever seen. God bless them. Q. 

In a card to his mother he said he was busy, but had "a 
chance to see all of this town I want to see. I am ready to 
get back to civilization. ' ' Also, he says, he does not mind 
the work ' ' as the office seems satisfied. ' ' From Baltimore : 
"Haven't got as sore on this town as on Chicago, although 



i6o One Who Gave His Life 

there aren't so many pretty girls. ' ' He found the city too 
small for a convention and conditions were hard on every- 
one. At the end, he wrote, "I am just tired and sleepy." 
All this is frivolous, but his work in the paper was not. 
It is now undistinguishable from that of his co-workers, but 
at the time those who knew praised warmly his picturing 
of the great combat in which Bryan, Wilson and Champ 
Clark strove, and Wilson won. As souvenirs. Mills kept 
tally sheets of both conventions, tickets of admission and a 
copy of his expense bill which shows that his double- 
barrelled trip cost the office $256 besides his salary and 
the telegraph tolls. Throughout the campaign that 
followed, he was in the thick of the fight. Especially 
he kept watch for the volcanic sayings and catapultic 
doings of the Colonel whenever he was in or about New 
York. 

All through the early part of 191 3, this was the most 
interesting feature of Mills's work, keeping in touch with 
the Colonel. He bought a little diary that year, as was his 
habit, but he used it only as an address book. Its early 
pages are filled with the names of people who could give 
information on political and other public matters, with 
their telephone numbers and other data for getting quickly 
into touch with them. The array included all the promi- 
nent men in and about New York. There are no records 
whatever of things done or said. Indeed, apart from the 
Roosevelt doings, there was little of special interest until 
August, when Governor Sulzer lucklessly convened that 
extraordinary session of the Legislature which took the bit 
in its teeth and impeached him and convicted him and 
removed him from office. 

Mills was sent to Albany as special correspondent to 
report all these proceedings and the columns of The Even- 
ing Sun were full of his work under the biggest headlines. 
The story is too well known to need telling here. The 



Vacation News Beat i6i 

trial was no sooner over than the mayoralty campaign was 
on. John Purroy Mitchel, then Collector of the Port, was 
nominated by the Fusion reform elements over the heads 
of Messrs. McAneny and Whitman. Tammany drafted 
Judge McCall from the Supreme Court. A spectacular 
fight, which seemed to be close, ensued. Mills had known 
Mitchel as President of the Board of Aldermen during 
Judge Gaynor's term and earHer as Commissioner of 
Accounts. There was already friendship and mutual 
regard between the two. He was able to throw himself 
into the struggle enthusiastically and he did. The tug- 
of-war seemed to be desperate ; but there never was any 
real doubt as to the result. After one of the most exciting 
municipal campaigns on record, Mitchel was elected 
Mayor, carrying every one of the five boroughs, and the 
city by more than a hundred thousand majority. 

The work of the campaign was exhausting. When it 
was all over, Mills went on a trip to New Orleans for rest. 
He sailed on November 24, and the trip became the 
occasion of one of his best news beats. On October 15, 
six weeks or so before, Park Commissioner Charles B. 
Stover stepped out of his office in the Arsenal in Central 
Park for luncheon. From that moment he dropped out 
of sight utterly. He had not said a word to anyone as 
to his going ; he sent no communication to friend or col- 
league. He just disappeared. Investigation disclosed 
no cause for his action. The story of his vanishing and 
his portrait were thrown on the screen in every motion 
picture house in the country. The case remained a com- 
plete mystery. 

But Mills, strolling about the levees in New Orleans, 
saw a figure that he knew well. Walking up, he stuck out 
his hand with "How d'ye do. Commissioner." It was 
Stover. For a moment, he tried to fence but he knew he 
was caught, so he just explained that he was tired and 



162 One Who Gave His Life 

wanted a rest ; why should he not take one if he desired ? 
He was surprised at all the fuss over nothing. 

Mills telegraphed his discovery at once and The Evening 
Sun featured it that day, December i, 191 3, in its late 
editions. Next day, a long and detailed story and inter- 
view completed the sensation . The late George M . Smith , 
who was then the Managing Editor, wired to Mills: 
"Mr. Reick asks me to send his congratulations on Stover 
stories. Please accept mine also. ' ' Mr. William C. Reick 
was at that time proprietor of the paper. 

Mills enjoyed the old French city and its quaint life. A 
batch of picture postcards that he sent home tell briefly of 
his exploration in the Creole quarters and in the famous 
eating houses. He liked the experience so well that he 
repeated it when he took his vacation in 1914, again to- 
ward the end of the year. This time, the steamer that he 
went on passed through a cyclone and a young Brooklyn- 
ite, a passenger, was washed from the deck and lost. 
Knowing that the news was sent by wireless to New York 
and fearing his parents would be alarmed he sent them a 
message by the same means: "O. K. Not even sea- 
syking." From New Orleans he gave the paper a graphic 
account of the storm and the tragedy. 

He returned from the earlier trip, the 1913 one, just 
in time for Mayor Mitchel's inauguration. He then had 
to deal with a complete new element at the City Hall. 
Democracy was out and reform and non-partisanship were 
in. Mills had no difficulty in winning general confidence. 
With Comptroller Prendergast he had occasional collisions 
over details of financial administration, notably over de- 
lays in paying the public school teachers, whose cause he 
always espoused ; but these always ended in gruff reconcil- 
iations. The two men respected each other. With Mayor 
Mitchel, relations of mutual esteem and friendship were 
soon established. Interesting light upon this period 



City Hall Appreciation 163 

and on the intercourse between the Mayor and Mills is 
shed by a memoir prepared for use in this book by Mr. 
Samuel L. Martin, who was Executive Secretary to the 
Mayor and one of his closest and most trusted advisers. 
Mr. Martin writes : 

I have learned from the boys of The Sun office of the plan to 
publish a volume in memory of "Q" — as he was known to me 
— and I feel that I must add my mite of appreciation, however 
inadequate, not only on my own behalf but on behalf of those 
of the Mayor's office in 191 6 and 191 7 when he was one of us 
at the City Hall. He was one of the late Mayor Mitchel's 
closest friends and he was consulted upon numerous occasions 
about matters of policy affecting the conduct of the city govern- 
ment. We came to know him as a man of sober thought, ever 
ready to lend a helping hand. 

Perhaps the thing that brought these two men closer to- 
gether than anything else was the question of preparedness 
which in the exciting days of 1 91 6- 17 was an overshadowing 
one. Both men were of one mind on that question. Both 
went to Plattsburg and both qualified as officers. How well I 
recall Mills's pride in his uniform when he came to the Mayor's 
office immediately upon his return, and his impatience with 
the delays that kept him here when he thought he ought to 
have been on the other side. And, finally, when he was about 
to go, how the entire business of the Mayor's office was dis- 
rupted while the Mayor personally undertook the job of 
getting him a particular type of automatic pistol, which Mills 
had set his heart upon. That gun went with him to France 
and I have no doubt it was with him when he died. 

I had several letters from him after he left. One of these I 
received late in June, 1918. Dated "Somewhere in hip boots," 
it enclosed his photograph — in his gas mask ! Although he had 
been in the thick of the fight, and was then at one of the train- 
ing stations preparing for the promotion that he would have 
received had he lived, and was enjoying what he termed a 
"rest," he was still vexed because he thought that everything 
that ought to have been done on this side was not being done. 



i64 One Who Gave His Life 

He said, "the war can only end one way," but added that "it 
ought by this time to be gradually filtering through the ivory 
domes of Congress and the people back home that it is going 
to take time and men to end it right." His prediction in the 
same letter that ' ' the German power will waste itself this sum- 
mer" proved true; for the men he thought we should have 
had there at that time were on the way. 

Quincy Mills died as he had lived — fighting for a principle. 
Always strong in his likes and dislikes, sometimes too radical 
in his intolerance of indifference and inefficiency, he was con- 
stantly active in his endeavor to achieve the thing which he 
believed to be right. He never dodged the issue. He met it 
squarely, face to face, and fought it with the bulldog determina- 
tion which his friends knew to be one of his best qualities. His 
was the supreme sacrifice. The consolation to his family — if 
there can be any consolation for a father and a mother under 
such circumstances — is the satisfaction that he was their boy ; 
that his principles were their principles and that when the time 
came for him to go, he went in just the way his principles 
exacted. That satisfaction will ever be theirs. The rest of us 
are proud to remember him as our friend — and we ought to 
be the better because of it. 

There is always a good deal of luck as well as vigilance 
in reportorial success. In a letter to his mother, who was 
on a visit to Statesville at the time, Mills tells of a notable 
instance. Under date of April i8, 1914, he writes : 

You will have read fully the accounts of the attempt on the 
Mayor's life by the time you receive this. It was a close 
squeak. You may remember my mentioning that I had 
warned Mitchel someone would take a pot shot at him and he 
had better get himself well guarded by plain clothes men. 
When he walked into the City Hall yesterday after the shoot- 
ing, I said, "I told you so." He grinned. 

Thanks to the able and alert reporter whom The Evening 
Sun has assigned to City Hall, that well known paper was the 
first to get on the street with the news of the attack. But if 



Last Work at Albany 165 

the incident had occurred five minutes later I would have been 
drinking a malted milk over the bar of Mr. Hegeman's drug- 
store and The Evening Sun would have been among the last 
papers on the street and would have had very little to say of its 
prowess. 

And so it goes — as Horace says. I've been pretty lucky, 
taking my newspaper experience by and large; I really do feel 
pretty proud of this story. 

Before this outline of Mills's career as a newspaper 
reporter is closed, another leap ahead must be made to 
chronicle his last work in that capacity. After he became 
an editorial writer, he was occasionally drafted for special 
political correspondence from Albany. This was the case 
in April, 191 7, just a month before he went to the Officers' 
Training Camp at Plattsburg as a volunteer for the war. 
He was sent to the State Capital to report the farcical 
proceedings taken to punish Mayor Mitchel for contempt 
of the Senate in applying the term, Prussianism, to the 
conduct of one of its members. On the third morning, 
April 5, he summed up the outcome in this cutting 
sentence : 

After spending two days in the uncomfortable position of 
the hunter who yelled for "somebody to come and help me 
loose this bear I've caught," the Senate let go of the trial of 
Mayor Mitchel a few minutes after two o'clock this morning. 

The Senate whitewashed the Senator and the Mayor 
impartially. 

During the years of active and varied newspaper 
experience and progress from 1907 to 191 5, Mills's private 
life flowed on with only trifling divergence from the con- 
templations and enjoyments, already described, upon 
which he launched as soon as he was settled in New York. 
The family relations were close knit. Mills spent much 



1 66 One Who Gave His Life 

time at home, reading and studying. His mother 
and he went to church together on high festivals, 
generally choosing a fine musical service. They had many 
friends from the South, domiciled in New York or passing 
through ; they made many new friends. There was always 
movement enough in the life to make it interesting. 
Quincy cast his eyes on many feminine forms. Some 
verses which embody the same idea as a couple of famous 
stanzas in Beppo, though written somewhat earlier, are 
still suggestive of his attitude toward "the sex" : 

The Face in the Crowd. 

As when two bits of wreckage meet 

Upon a foaming sea, 
And touch and part, to meet no more, 

So was it I met thee. 
Yet always still your fair sweet face 

Ever comes back to me. 

Only a glimpse in the crowded street, 

Each read each, eye to eye, 
And saw, and knew — with the joy of it 

We felt our hearts beat high ; 
We were each other's that instant's space — 

Then the crowd swept us by. 

We met and parted, but your face 

Lives in my memory still, 
And though another share my life, 

As it may be another will. 
Sacred to thee within my heart 

One spot she may not fill. 

One of his encounters with an old acquaintance threat- 
ened to be serious, but a vacation trip southward put an 
end to the romance, as an entry in one of those very casual 
diaries indicates. He was disenchanted. The diaries say 



Hints in Diaries 167 

nothing, however, of an attractive young widow, whom he 
met on his New Orleans holiday in 191 3. For two years 
before this, his inclinations had been strong toward a 
young lady of Virginia, upon whom his mother had set her 
hopes. The new acquaintance diverted him from this suit, 
yet never came to anything itself as he decided that 
difference of disposition might render a marriage unhappy 
for both. 

In general, the diaries, when kept at all, record only 
lighter interests and doings. Operas, plays, concerts, 
visits to art displays, are jotted down with condensed but 
often pungent criticism as in his letters. His standards 
developed; his taste matured, but he never could tolerate 
fat prima donnas, however well they sang. Naturally, he 
was prominent in the City Hall Reporters' Association, 
but he was never an officer, though often urged to accept a 
nomination. He worked hard for the organization, as is 
shown by the appearance of his name on letterheads as 
member of the Room Committee. But in this instance 
as in respect of College offices, he cared nothing for mere 
honors. Naturally he went to all the witty dinners for 
which the Association has become famous, and contrib- 
uted much to the humorous skits which set the tables — 
and the town — in a roar. He went ' ' on the water wagon ' ' 
in January, 1910, and on July i he writes that he "found it 
very safe and satisfactory riding." However, he was 
sensible and moderate in this as in other things. He made 
an exception of the Association dinners and other gala 
occasions. Later, he removed the ban generally in favor 
of light wines and beer. He used these and enjoyed them 
with true temperance. More than once, also, he gave up 
smoking for longer or shorter periods, just as an assertion 
of will power and mastery over himself. Country walk- 
ing remained a favorite recreation and the diaries record 
more than one exploration of the Orange Mountains in 



i68 One Who Gave His Life 

company with Mr. Philip Coan, with whom a Httle later 
he became immediately associated in his work on The 
Evening Sun. 

He had few or no enemies, many friends, a host of 
cordial acquaintances, absorbing interests, high hopes, 
fine prospects. All in all, he lived a life as agreeable in 
the present and as promising for the future as any young 
man, just turned thirty and fighting his way in the world, 
could wish for. 



CHAPTER VI 

Fighting on the Editorial Front Line — A Young Apostle of Pre- 
paredness — Raps at Roosevelt — Clear Prevision of America's 
Entry into the War. 

Very early in his newspaper career, Mills began to 
show ability in the line of editorial comment. He tried his 
hand as early as 19 lo, sending in volunteer articles to the 
Editor. He records his first success in the diary for 
that year under date of October 27: "It was this day, 
Thursday, that I got my first editorial in. The Great Vibra- 
tor, with T. R. and his relations to astrology as its theme." 
Plainly he had formed a purpose to land on the editorial 
page and he pursued it quietly but systematically until he 
won his fight. Slightly shortened, this was his opening 
gun on the editorial front : 

The Great Vibrator 

Who can say that the art of the astrologer is false or that the 
signs of the zodiac have, indeed, no influence on the lives of 
men? Let the doubter read this excerpt from a recent exposi- 
tion of the doctrine of the stars. 

"Persons born during the latter half of October . . . draw 
unto themselves the vibratory influence of Scorpio. They 
are constantly conceiving new ideas and promulgating new 
schemes, visionary and otherwise. The very element of new- 
ness and uncertainty in an enterprise is sufficient attraction 
to them." 

Could it then have been chance that this, the natal day of 
the Great Vibrator himself, fell so pat within the proper sign? 

169 



170 One Who Gave His Life 

And the "element of newness and uncertainty" — the very lure 
of the new nationalism illumined by the spheres. And here 
is more, proving assuredly that the Colonel's proper locus is 
within the "vibratory " sign. Of persons first seeing the light 
in the unsettled term of Scorpio, we learn: 

"They have very decided convictions of life and how most 
of its affairs should be conducted" — from the raising of babies 
to the conservation of natural resources. "Roused to contro- 
versy, they display a most provoking tenacity . . . arguing 
faults into virtues or virtues into faults with equal unconcern" 
— as the vibrating happens to be done in the insurgent West 
or the standpat East. "They possess an overweening desire 
for change and conquest . . . fret under restraint and harbor 
an inborn aversion to law and conventionality." It is a long 
time before the Scorpio consciousness reaches that point where 
the legal right is the moral right — as is clearly indicated by the 
shelving of the "fossilized" Supreme Courts for a vibratory 
"stewardship of the public weal." 

The oracle is fulfilled. Astrology is vindicated. It is as if 
the generations of magic, Chaldasans and Egyptians, had read 
their astrolabes only in foreshadowing The Great Vibration of 
the Twentieth Century. Was it still fortuitously that they 
coupled with "the violent sign of Scorpio" the sinister influ- 
ence of the fiery planet Mars? 

"Tragedy" — "hopes of false glory" — terms ominously 
portentous of the events of Tuesday, November 8, that are 
now casting their shadows before although, of course, The 
Great Vibrator never drifted in any tangent he ever got 
started on. Nothing less than comet speed for him. How- 
ever great the wreck, there may be balm remaining, though, 
for we read regarding the vibrations of the Scorpio proteges : 

"Whatever occasion for regret may be found at the summing 
up, it is seldom th i reproach of having played too tame or too 
uninteresting a game." 

Assuredly no such reproach in this case. Beautiful thought 
that ; even after the worst he may vibrate ecstatically with the 
consolation that he at least "licked 'em to a frazzle" at 
Saratoga and shouted himself hoarse throughout the campaign. 



Sulzer and T. R. 171 

And it will be mighty handy to have the stars to blame for 
the election returns. 

This was bold hitting for a beginner, but that was Mills's 
way. Whatever he did, he did with all his vigor. As for 
the matter and view, it must be remembered that this was 
long before Colonel Roosevelt came to the front as the 
national champion in the war. Mills's personal attitude, 
made up about equally of admiration and distaste, has 
already been defined. Many shared it in 19 lo and it is to 
be remembered that The Evening Sun was politically 
opposed to the Colonel at that time and Mills's writing 
perforce took the color of the paper that was to print it. 
For several years he took great glee in lampooning the 
great man. But in all he wrote there was a strain of good 
humor, as in the above, which must have amused the vic- 
tim far more than it offended him. One bit of satire 
which appeared three years later, in the thick of the 
191 3 smoke and fury, seems to reach the very perfection 
of the short editorial in the lighter vein. It must have 
sent a wave of laughter up and down New York : 

PiTHEKOPHAGI 

It will be recalled that when the Hon. William Sulzer made 
his celebrated eruption into the Progressive party last year 
the Hon. George W. Perkins said with unexpected appro- 
priateness : 

"The Progressive party is no longer a one-man party!" 

It seems now that the ex-Governor of this State — by removal 
— still retains a hold upon the hearts and the imagination of Pro- 
gressives, which awakens the suspicion that if the Colonel does 
not run the Progressive nomination will go to "the same old 
Bill." 

Happy shoiild be the party that has two such commanding 
figures as the Colonel and "Plain Bill," and yet it doesn't 
seem happy. The land of hope is wholly surrounded by the 



172 One Who Gave His Life 

River of Doubt. Even the Colonel, who ate monkeys in South 
America, seems to hesitate about swallowing Sulzer. 

After his first success. Mills never lost his hold on the 
editorial page. He wrote steadily for it and many of his 
articles were accepted, especially on such topics as munici- 
pal business, local politics and happenings of interest in 
city life. Naturally his successes were only occasional for 
the first year or two. But in March, 1913, Mr. Frank H. 
Simonds became Editor of The Evening Sun and from that 
time forward Mills's appearances on the page became 
regular. He grew to be more and more the paper's special- 
ist on civic affairs. In one article, he pictures the difficul- 
ties of the Board of Estimate over the question whether 
the "new" Municipal Building should be "wet or dry." 
Algae in the Croton Reservoir are explained and the public 
reassured. The Bedford Reformatory's needs, the justice 
of giving a pension to the widow of a probationary police- 
man who was killed suppressing a gang fight, the rush of 
June brides in which ' ' 530 throbbing hearts were made to 
beat as 265," the burning issue as to whether city officials 
must walk or pay carfare — these and an endless stream of 
subjects, equally important and equally fugitive were 
treated with vigor and vivacity. 

The saddest thing about newspaper work is its eph- 
emeral quality. However able in conception and execution, 
however sparkling in presentation, however potent for its 
hour or day, in the briefest time the greater part of it 
becomes flat and unprofitable. This is particularly true 
of editorial writing. The news report of an event, special 
correspondence describing places, narrating large occur- 
rences or explaining political, social or economic situations, 
may have some permanent interest and value. It is at 
least material for the historian. But passing opinion, 
detached from the event, is as meaningless as the in- 



Editor at Thirty-one i73 

scriptions of a lost civilization. To make many of Mills 's 
editorials, strong and effective though they were, barely 
understandable to-day would require repetition of dead 
news at greater length than the articles themselves. 

In the first days of February, 191 5, Mr. Simonds re- 
signed the editorship of The Evening Sun in order to become 
Associate Editor of the Tribune. His successor speedily 
made up his mind that a specialist on New York State 
and local politics was needed on the page. Mills's contri- 
butions had attracted attention by their incisiveness, their 
lucidity and by the fund of information and the correct 
and consistent thinking behind them. The vacant place 
was offered to him early in May. 

Mills was unmistakably pleased. Here was the reali- 
zation of one of his ambitions, and probably years sooner 
than he had expected it. He was just over thirty-one 
years old ; he had been only a little more than eight years in 
journalism; to reach the position of editorial writer thus 
early was a clear distinction. He was eager to accept. 
Only his scrupulous character gave him pause. He said : 
' ' This paper is a conservative paper. You may not know 
that I have very radical ideas. It may be that my view of 
many questions will be quite at odds with the official opin- 
ions which control this page." 

The Editor replied : "I think it likely, Mr. Mills, that 
you are not nearly so radical as you think you are. Your 
writing suggests a good deal of sound sense and ballast. 
No doubt, you have liberal sympathies, but that is a 
different thing. And you must remember that this paper 
stands for neither stagnation nor reaction. If you hold 
your mind open and your temper under control, you 
will probably have no difficulty in keeping the right 
tone." 

' ' Well, ' ' said Mills, ' ' if you are wilhng to take the chance 
of my suiting, I shall be only too delighted. But I felt I 



174 One Who Gave His Life 

must say what I have in order to avoid any appearance of 
coming in under false pretences," 

On this basis, the bargain was struck and Mills began 
work at once. The editor's prognostication turned out 
correct. Mills had generous democratic sympathies. He 
was always on the people's side, the side of the country, the 
State, the city as a whole as against any faction or class. 
But he was always just and sane. He had a clear reali- 
zation of the rights of property and the sanctity of in- 
dividual opinion and action so long as it was not directly 
opposed to the general good. 

He had been preparing himself for advance in journal- 
ism and especially for editorial writing by reading and 
study. He bought in 1909 Motley's Rise of the Dutch 
Republic. He read it, too, and had much discussion 
over it with his mother. In 1909 he bought The Privileged 
Classes by Barrett Wendell and this also was the subject 
of much talk. Then he read Buckle's History of Civili- 
zation and Bry ce's American Commonwealth. He bought, 
read and marked — he had the bad habit of marking all his 
books — the following works : 

History of American Politics, Alexander Johnston. 

Political Parties and Party Problems, J. A. Woodburn. 

Principles of Constitutional Government, F. J. Goodnow. 

The American of the Future, Brander Matthews. 

Contemporary Politics in the Far East, Stanley Kuhl Horn- 
beck. 

Underlying Principles of Modern Legislation, W. Jethro 
Brown. 

The New Freedom, Woodrow Wilson. 

American Syndicalism, John Graham Brooks. 

New Ideals in Business, Ida Tarbell. 

He drew, besides, from the Public Library many vol- 
umes of the same general character and, if he marked 
them less, he studied them the more. Such books as 



All in a Hundred Words i75 

Hoffding's Outlines of Psychology and Stout's Manual of 
Psychology he always had at hand and frequently dipped 
into them. Along with these serious works he constantly 
read his favorite poets, Browning, Kipling, the Rubaiyat, 
Wordsworth, Keats and Byron and to this habit, no doubt, 
much of the high quality of his style is to be attributed, his 
faculty of always choosing the best word and giving his 
phrase the most expressive turn. 

His influence in the editorial work of The Evening Sun 
very soon made itself felt and in a broader way than was 
expected. In the beginning, however, his writing was 
principally along the line of his specialty or on topics of 
"human interest" as the newspaper slang expresses it. 
He developed speedily a special gift for short, striking 
articles, saying all that there was to be said on some 
important subject in a hundred words. Few editorial 
writers have surpassed him in this gift. For instance, 
when the City of New York adopted a new flag and it was 
ceremoniously displayed for the first time on June 24, 191 5, 
he wrote a few lines which were "double leaded" and 
printed at the head of the first column of the editorial page 
that day : 

Welcome to the city's new standard floating over the City 
Hall today! It is the emblem of the greatest city on the 
western continent; soon it will be the emblem of the greatest 
city in the world. And its bands of orange, white and blue are 
the same as were raised by the Dutch when they founded New 
Amsterdam more than three centuries ago. May New York 
always be true to its colors! And may they wave for 
many ages to come over a municipality growing not only in 
numbers and wealth but even more in enlightenment and 
civic virtue! 

How different he could be when he turned his spirit in 



176 One Who Gave His Life 

another direction ! Here is a bit of prose poesy from the 
paper of September 30, 191 5: 

Our Rural Flower Show 

Those who have not communed with Dr. Van Dyke's "God 
of the open air" in New York City's country byways have 
missed the better part of Hving in these fine September days. 
This is not said in irony ; it is the Hteral truth. On hill and in 
dale the wild flowers bloom in a profusion and a beauty un- 
rivaled even in the springtime. The picture is one seldom 
outdone anywhere in Nature's great conservatory under the 
dome of the sky. 

The variety of colors is such as cannot be reproduced justly 
either by the writer's pencil or the painter's brush. There 
are, to mention but a few, all shades of purple from the lilac 
of the New England aster to the rich hue of the aster itself and 
the royal dye of the ironweed. There is the delicate tracery of 
the Queen Anne's lace like a frilling of Valenciennes against 
the green hedges, and gleaming above all there is the blazing 
glory of the goldenrod flourishing sturdily in great banks. Not 
least among the beauties of the countryside is the exquisite, 
purplish pink of the thistle's pompons — the humble bull 
thistle which might well claim favor with the rose and orchid 
in the florist's shops, had Luther Burbank devoted himself to 
freeing it of its needles instead of wasting his time on the 
spineless cactus. 

You have not marvelled at the goregous flower show in your 
goings and comings about the city? It is your own fault, 
then, for sticking to the asphalt-paved and stone-walled can- 
yons of barren Manhattan, when the exhibition lies just at the 
other end of the ferry to Staten Island. Take a trolley inland 
from the ferry terminal and leave it where you like on reaching 
the fields. The cost is only 30 cents per person for the round 
trip, which is worth many times that sum to wall-wearied 
eyes. The tonic touch of fall in the air is thrown in for 
nothing. But he who would see this Nature's wonder 
show must make haste to go before Jack Frost enters the 



Serio-Comic Wrath i77 

conservatory and subsitutes colors of his own which arc 
fine enough in their way but are not the tints of this 
season. 

Evidently Mills had been on one of his suburban outings 
and brought home a gift from it for his readers. But the 
man who launched the bit of civic enthusiasm quoted 
and did this charming piece of word painting had another 
side. He was up to his eyes in figures, in statistics, in the 
inner workings of party politics. He fought, shoulder to 
shoulder with Mayor Mitchel, against a State tax which 
bore oppressively on New York City. He kept track of 
subway building ; he placed the qualities of Commissioner 
Arthur Wood's police administration before the people. 
The unification of the Port of New York and its develop- 
ment by better and bigger piers and better means of 
circulation from point to point for freight were the subject 
of many of his articles. He was always on the progressive, 
the developmental side. Sometimes he hit so hard, when 
city officials were stupid or perversely partisan, that he 
excited great wrath. One day he came into the office 
grinning from ear to ear because a very high-up gentleman 
had passed him in the street without even a nod because 
of an exposure he had made of an oppressive move toward 
delay in paying the teachers. A month or so later, his 
grin was still broader when he told of the somewhat sheep- 
ish fashion in which the same gentleman, who had had 
time to think, came up to him in the City Hall corridor 
and tried to make believe no shadow had ever fallen 
between them. He was a formidable man and many 
efforts were made to placate him. At first he was often 
invited to call on this or that politician and have told him 
the whole, true inside of things. But he soon found that 
reciprocity was expected. From that time forward, he 
contented himself with the public record and his own 
judgment. No one could make a cat's-paw of him. 



178 One Who Gave His Life 

He had, however, a high appreciation of real merit and 
was both generous and tactful in giving recognition of it. 
A characteristic example was : 

Plain George 

There is no more modest and unassuming soul in all the city 
of New York than the Honorable George McAneny, President 
of the Board of Aldermen. Therefore this persistent effort to 
force him to adopt a middle initial in his name is entirely 
unintelligible. 

There is no pomposity about the man to justify the associa- 
tion of any such high-sounding prefix as George A. or George 
T. or George W. with his family name. And yet those who 
write pieces about his speeches at banquets or his sage advis- 
ings in the council chamber are continually insisting that he 
use one of them. 

Like "the father of his country," "the father of the dual 
subway system" is just plain George. The most engaging 
thing about him is that he is just plain George, in spite of the 
fact that he has accomplished something that might have 
stiunped his illustrious predecessor — namely, he has made 
the Board of Aldermen respectable. 

Let us have an end of the attempt to make Mr. McAneny 
put on airs. He is too fine a touch of simplicity in a blatant 
and self-extolling world to run the risk of spoiling him. 

Mr. McAneny acknowledged this tribute in a charming 
way. He sent Mills a large photograph of himself with 
this inscription: "To the author of 'Plain George' — by 
way of proof of his point. March, 1915." The article 
had been published on the 1 8th. 

But, Mills's attention was far from being concentrated 
on municipal or even State affairs. The South and its in- 
terests were prominent and he wrote many articles on the 
cotton crop, the negro problem, Mississippi floods and the 
like. These while sympathetic were always written from 



Southern Interests i79 

a broad standpoint. He pointed out the economic fallacy 
of the valorization of any crop and urged diversity in 
Southern planting. Again he advocated a complete system 
of river control. He treated the problem as a national 
obligation of common sense, but pointed out the enormous 
gain to lands in the flood districts and suggested that 
these should bear a just proportion of the expense. 

In particular he took this ground regarding the rec- 
lamation of swamp lands when Senator Newlands, al- 
though a democrat, condemned the proposal to spend 
$45,000,000 of Federal money for the benefit of some 
sixteen million acres in four states along the lower Missis- 
sippi. It was as if New York should ask the Government 
to assume the entire expense of its barge canal. He 
argued for a national rather than a sectional view. He 
was strongly in favor of the great improvement but 
thought it should be financed to a much greater extent 
than twenty-five per cent by those who benefited from it. 
He gave Senator Newlands high praise for his courage and 
fair play, for his revolt against local favoritism. 

He loved trees, individually and collectively, and 
endeavored in a number of earnest editorials on forestry to 
draw public attention to the useless destruction of timber 
going on all over America, urging a governmental system 
of control and re-planting. From France he wrote, in 
reference to the sale of timber owned by his family in 
North Carolina, that he never wanted to see the land after 
it had been stripped of trees, and then described the 
strictness with which the French enforced their wise laws 
on forest preservation. 

The cause of education in the South also interested him 
and he wrote various articles upon it. In one published 
February 8, 191 7, he quoted from a report of his friend. 
President E. K. Graham of the University of North Caro- 
lina to Governor Craig, upon the great development of the 



i8o One Who Gave His Life 

University's summer school which had reached an enrol- 
ment of 1050 students from only 36 in 1907. Incidentally 
Dr. Graham noted that the school, opened in 1877, was the 
first of its type in the country. Mills made the facts a 
plea for a larger appropriation than $145,000, then granted 
by the State. President Graham wrote him a cordial 
letter of thanks, inviting him to visit Chapel Hill. On 
another occasion, discussing a report by Governor Craig 
on conditions of racial degeneracy in remote spots in 
North Carolina, Mills pointed out that these were 
paralleled in other states, as, for instance, by the Pineys in 
New Jersey. His range of interests was America-wide. 
One day he discounted talk about a rush to the Arctic 
regions after gold. Again, in Still Unwritten, he had his 
say about that vague product, "the great American 
novel." Rejecting a theory that its failure to arrive was 
due to the size and variety of the country which rendered 
unity of significance impossible, he said : 

In the way of a great American novel, rather than any mere 
sectional diversity, lies an overlay of civilized complications 
which cover up the interesting side of humanity. Business, 
politics, uplift and whatnot are interesting to those who pursue 
them, but the novel is something more vital than a political 
speech, a business letter or a treatise on welfare. Unfor- 
tunately, when an American writer starts to dig his way down 
to hidden springs of tears or laughter he seems always to lose 
his way in this thick overlay of stock deals, political campaigns, 
factory management and tenement inspection. His shaft 
falls in on him and of writers of the "great American novel" 
there is one less. 

This bit of thoughtful criticism was not his only excur- 
sion into academic discussion. In an article on Names 
for Our Warships, he deplored the fact that ' ' the line no 
more knows such names as those of the Constitution, 
immortalized as Old Ironsides — why shouldn't there be a 



Many Sided Views i8i 

ship afloat worthy of such a title? — the Constellation and 
the United States.'' He recalls the Bonhomme Richard, 
with its great commander's reply to a demand for sur- 
render: "I have not yet begun to fight," and the Kear- 
sarge. Then, he had enlightened views on social topics. 
He had observed the workings of the marriage bureau and 
civil marriages while he was a reporter at the City Hall. 
He favored in several articles amendments to the State law 
which would make the machinery of marriage less trouble- 
some and expensive to couples ; but he opposed anything 
which tended to make the ceremony lax or casual. " It is 
always bad policy to make marriage expensive to poor 
people," he wrote, condemning a three dollar fee system, 
" There is world-wide experience in proof of this, and the 
majority of those who seek City Hall marriages belong to 
the poorer, in fact, to the immigrant class." He con- 
cluded by advocating restriction of power to marry to the 
City Clerk and a deputy in each borough, saying: "The 
validity of the marriage contract is too vital a matter to 
entrust its ratification loosely to a vague body of mere 
employees of the city as distinguished from recognized 
officials." 

He was always on the side of freedom and liberality. 
Censorships of all sorts were detestable to him and he 
advocated clean Sunday amusements including baseball, 
music and good moving pictures. An excellent example 
of his way of summing up a large topic in a few lines is 
again shown in his handling of the price question in one of 
its acute phases. It appeared on September 22, 1916: 

"Hell Bent!" 

The butchers say prices must go up or they will go bankrupt. 
The bakers say prices must go up or they will go bankrupt. 
So with the candlestick makers, the railroad trainmen with 
their wages, the railroad operators with their rates and all the 



i82 One Who Gave His Life 

rest. But for the ultimate consumer nothing ever goes up 
except the high cost of living, and nobody ever seems to care 
whether he goes bankrupt or not. 

This was what was called in office slang "a bullet " and 
it hit the bulls-eye fair and true. What more could be said 
from the consumer's point of view? Here was another 
that went true on August 4 of the same year : 

Still Another Strike to Think Over 

There is a lesson for all concerned in the threatened street 
car strike in the fact that the garment workers' lockout-strike 
ends today. After fourteen weeks of personal suffering, finan- 
cial loss and public inconvenience the garment workers are 
starting where they were before. 

Again on January 23, 1917 he fired a telling shot at the 
class selfishness of labor unionism : 

Still Flourishing the Club 

Every little while the railroad brotherhooders flourish the 
club which they found so effective in getting, on the eve of 
election, the eight-hour law they thought then they wanted 
but find now they didn't. But the flourishes grow weaker. 
Now it is to be a series of strikes, not a nation-wide strike 
with which they will punish the country if the Supreme Court 
and Congress fail to do their bidding. Fortunately, there is 
time for this programme also to be reconsidered. 

He did not spare his gift of sarcasm on the politicians. 
This is from the paper of January 6, 191 7 : 

Quality, not Quantity 

The introduction of seventy-one bills on the first day of the 
legislative session does not encourage the hope that the Albany 
patriots will exhibit unprecedented self-restraint by curbing 



America and the War 183 

the output of useless laws. This is a contributory cause of 
the high cost and general befuddlement of living which is 
persistently overlooked. 

Courage and devotion always aroused his enthusiasm 
and he put all his heart into the glorification of these 
qualities. He found an opportunity worthy of his pen on 
March 6, 1917- He wrote: 

Heroes, Every One 

Ten bluejackets of the crew of the United States revenue 
cutter Yamacraw went to their deaths off Ocean City, Mary- 
land, Sunday night, heroes, every one. They jumped to man 
lifeboats when ordered to make a desperate effort in a raging 
sea to rescue the crew of the tanker Louisiana, stranded on 
Little Gull Shoals. Two of the three boats sent out were 
swamped, and ten of the eleven men at their oars went down 
in the smother. 

Worst of all, the sacrifice turns out to have been for nothing. 
The gale blew over, and the Louisiana stuck together. At a 
time when every seaman the country can muster may be 
needed at any hour the loss of this heroic ten is felt most keenly. 
They were made of the sort of stuff that is required to assert 
and maintain American rights on the seas. 

As the months rolled on and America's deep concern in 
the war became more and more manifest, Mills's mind 
dwelt more and more on this subject and he wrote more 
and more about it and the urgent obligations it created. 
His intense Americanism now became a living and inspir- 
ing force. The conflict was well into its second year; the 
Lusitania had been sunk and many other desperate out- 
rages had been inflicted on the American flag and people. 
Righteous anger burned in all loyal hearts; in none more 
hotly than in Mills's. From the first shots fired at Liege 
his indignation and pity had been aroused by the wrongs 



i84 One Who Gave His Life 

and sufferings of Belgium and France. He understood the 
cold, cruel selfishness, the lust of conquest and tyranny 
that prompted Germany's attack on the civilized world. 
He was one of those idealists who thought that this 
country should have taken a stand for right the moment 
neutrality was violated and the faith of treaties made a 
mockery. For himself, had not the United States declared 
war, he would have gone to France as an ambulance driver 
in the spring of 191 7- He had so resolved. 

Long before the United States entered the war, the 
neglect of defensive preparation at Washington had been 
a matter of deep regret and serious condemnation on his 
part. He had expressed these feelings in articles which, 
however, were couched in a tone of moderation in accord 
with the existing conditions of peace. When the war 
began and the atrocious military policy of Germany began 
to display itself, all was changed. Moderation ceased to 
be a virtue. He saw almost at once that, sooner or later, 
America would be forced to take part in the struggle for 
the life or death of civilization. The sooner, the better, 
he thought. He crusaded for national preparedness with 
all his brain and all his passion of right. His conviction 
not only blazed constantly in his writing, but determined 
his own fate by urging him into the glorious career of 
devotion and sacrifice. 

At the same time the relations of this country with 
Mexico were a constant menace of war, a constant humili- 
ation and tribulation to loyal citizens. Mills felt most 
bitterly on this subject. He felt that the National 
Administration had failed to assert the rights or uphold 
the dignity of the nation. But what most offended him 
was the constant opposition to anything like military 
preparedness, the neglect of armament and of some scheme 
of drilling young men, the foolish and sleazy anti-con- 
scription talk, when practically the whole mobile National 



Mexican Menace 185 

Guard of the States was under conscription to all intents 
and purposes, suffering all the economic loss of active 
service and almost all the hardships of a campaign in what 
Egbert E. Woodbury, the New York Attorney General, 
called ironically "an imperfect war." Woodbury in- 
vented a legal quibble to enable the soldiers in the field 
to vote in the election of 1916. Mills commented on 
August 9 : 

The Kaiser, who is the greatest living authority on war, 
thought that he was starting a "perfect war," only to find two 
years later that it belongs very much in the "imperfect" 
class. Is there, in fact, any other sort of war? We "disre- 
member," as an old darky friend of ours used to say, ever 
having read anything in the history books about a "perfect 
war." Now if Mr. Woodbury had talked of an "imperfect 
peace," he would have done better. 

His alibi in support of guardsmen's absentee voting is cer- 
tainly imperfect enough; the proper solution is to get the boys 
out of the trenches before registration day. 

As far back as April, 1914, before he became an editorial 
writer, he had his eye on war and the Mexican border. He 
wrote to his mother who was visiting in Statesville : 

My work for the past week has been very light because of 
the great amount of (Mexican) war news. There is no space 
in the papers for anything else. I do not like it. The time 
passes more pleasantly and I feel less as if I were standing still 
mentally when I am busy. As a matter of fact, I have been 
disappointed in not having been sent to Mexico. The Evening 
Sun has not sent anyone, the morning paper men being relied 
upon for big stuff. ... I would certainly like the chance. 
Indeed, I would rather be sent down there on no salary than 
remain here doing nothing and drawing pay. 

Mills was totally incredulous as to the value of the 
National Guard as a basic organization for war purposes, 



i86 One Who Gave His Life 

though he conceded to it a certain value as a school for 
officers and men. He made a study of the Swiss and Aus- 
tralian systems of universal military training and in 
numerous articles urged the adoption of a plan framed on 
the same principles. The reality of the war, when the 
United States finally entered it, completely vindicated 
his views. The National Guard organizations were 
completely disregarded, though hundreds of their officers 
and drilled men of the requisite character were com- 
missioned in the huge volunteer army which was created in 
such lamentable haste and at such crushing expense of 
treasure and life. 

His doctrine regarding the National Guard or militia 
was very fully expounded in an editorial of more than two 
columns, with which he celebrated, on February 19, 191 6, 
the approach of Washington's birthday. It was headed, 
Washington on Preparedness, and it said that "there 
was no subject that could arouse Washington more 
thoroughly than the militia system. He could be counted 
on to 'swear like an angel at it. ' " He differed from those 
national leaders who were expressing entire confidence in 
the volunteer system in the hour of need, because he had 
experience with it. Mills went on : 

It was on the basis of this experience that Washington ad- 
vanced the theory, so curious to us who have been belabored 
with the contrary opinion, that green volunteer militiamen are 
not worth anything after you have got them, as far as immediate 
service is concerned. Having been compelled to fight the 
war for our independence with such troops, he gave fervent 
testimony to the fact that the theory that the hand-me-down 
soldier can drop his pitchfork, pick up his gun and step into 
the ranks ready and able to chase any enemy into the ocean 
is most dangerous. 

Again and again Washington protested bitterly during the 
War of the Revolution against the futility of enlisting men for 



Militia Ineptitude 187 

short periods, against enlisting them from the separate colonies 
instead of from the confederated colonies as a whole, and 
against the system of favoritism which placed them under the 
control of incompetent and inexperienced officers commissioned 
by the Assemblies through political or social pull instead of 
under officers chosen by the army staff. Again and again he 
protested that such mismanagement produced a state of chaos 
that rendered his army unfit for service, since the lack of 
discipline bred both disease and inefficiency. 

The natural consequence of such conditions must be de- 
feat, and no one admits more frankly than Washington that 
they did so resiilt in the Revolution. The Continental forces 
were whipped in engagement after engagement, often by in- 
ferior nimibers. A lot of spread-eagle oratory is still poured 
out by politicians over the manner in which the dauntless 
minute men grabbed their guns in 1776, and beat the redcoats 
to a frazzle. Not so Washington. 

The article goes on to quote from Washington's report 
in 1780, showing his belief that, but for the blundering of 
the British commanders, the incapacity and unreliability 
of the volunteer levies would have lost the Revolutionary 
war to the Colonies. This opinion is urged as specially 
opportune for study when Congress and the Adminis- 
tration seemed drifting toward the same blunder by trying 
* ' to disguise the skeleton in our military closet by rigging it 
up in the verbal gear of a 'Federal' militia." Then the 
experiences of the War of 18 12, of the Civil War and the 
war with Spain are cited to show that the faults and dan- 
gers are inherent in the system : 

The regular army chiefs have been quick to condemn any 
such programme, but not because of any complaint they have 
to make against the personnel of the National Guard at pres- 
ent. On the contrary Major-General Leonard Wood and other 
authorities have said that the results obtained by organiza- 
tions here and there in spite of the militia system handicap 



188 One Who Gave His Life 

have been remarkable. But even the best the guardsmen 
have accomplished is not good enough if they are to be relied 
on as a first line of defence, as they must be now. They lack 
the discipline which was emphasized by Washington as essen- 
tial. It is not their fault. Under a semi-social, semi-political 
system of officering they could not be expected to have it. 
And their lack of training in field operations renders them 
unfit to protect themselves against the soldiers' worst enemy, 
disease, in a campaign. 

In conclusion, the War College recommendation of a 
nucleus of a regular, mobile army of 195,500 men was 
strongly advocated along with adoption of the Chamber- 
lain plan of universal military service, "since the present 
war has demonstrated that in the twentieth century 
nations go to war en masse and that the advantage, if not 
the victory, is still with those who, as General Forrest said, 
'have the mostest men and git thar fustest. ' " 

This policy was not adopted by the Government . Noth- 
ing was done until after war had been declared. Every- 
one now realizes the disastrousness of the blunder. It 
cost thousands of lives and billions of wealth. Mills 
himself might be alive to-day had his advice been 
taken. 

His agitation, in fact, excited great interest, as he found 
out later, in army circles as well as among civilians who 
took a common sense view of the situation. All his 
articles on the war and American interests involved in it 
and on the prospect of American participancy were 
written in a tone of exaltation. They commanded general 
attention and contributed much to the great and growing 
popularity of The Evening Sun during that period. Here 
is a flash of enthusiasm called forth by some discussion 
toward the close of 19 16 as to suspending the illumination 



Imperial Immunity 1^9 

of the Statue of Liberty in the harbor; it appeared on 
December 5 : 

Liberty, the Shining Mark 

Boldly outlined by the illumination of Liberty stands the 
fact that this priceless heritage of ours is not safeguarded to- 
day against every emergency. Not until the illumination 
burns upon American consciousness the truth that Liberty s 
safety depends upon individual sacrifice and service, will it 
suffice. Short of this, the more brilliantly Liberty is illumined 
the more clearly it shines out as a target for Oppression. 

It is within that the fire of devotion to Liberty must burn 
more brightly— in the American heart. We have grown to 
accept Liberty too much as a matter of course. 

During his entire service as editorial writer, covering 
twenty-seven months of the war period, he wrote fully two 
hundred and fifty articles on phases of the European 
conflict and American progress toward intervention. He 
held firmly the view of ultimate obligation to go in and 
urged readiness for the inevitable. His contempt and 
abomination for the German autocracy is illustrated in 
this "bullet," fired on October 17, 1916: 
Blood Will Tell 
His heart bleeds for them, the Kaiser assures his people. 
This sympathy must be of great support to the Germans, reel- 
ing in the red dance of death. But is there another family of 
six sons except the Hohenzollern family in all Germany which 
has not lost one of them in battle since August i, 1914? 

Yet he could be fair and reasonable anent things Ger- 
man as well, for on November 25 of the same year, he 
wrote this : 

Golden Mean Indeed 

Those who damn indiscriminately all things Teutonic are in 
error. German subservience to the doctrine of the oneness of 



190 One Who Gave His Life 

might and right is wrong. But the German genius for system 
is something which America may well emulate. Americanism 
runs to individual license where Kultur constructs the man 
machine. It will be a great nation which finds the golden 
spiritual mean. 

Nor was he ever blind to faults at home, nor silent when 
they took the form of class interest as against national 
safety : 

The Drift 

There is nothing amazing in the fact that the railroad train- 
men have decided that they do not want an eight-hour law 
after all if they have to take an anti-strike law with it. This 
attitude is entirely consistent with the tendency in this country 
to demand an invincible national defence system, but to 
shriek "Conscription!" at the suggestion that every citizen 
must do his bit to produce it. Americanism is too much in- 
clined today to want all privilege and no obligation. 

This was printed on December 21, 1916, and gave voice 
to the reaction, general throughout the country and 
manifested even in Congress, against the surrender to the 
four railroad brotherhoods in the Adamson act, passed in 
the midst of the presidential canvass. 

His theory of military preparedness, running through 
scores of articles, was based on his belief that the country 
would have to enter the war ; even if not this war, some war 
in the future. The surest way to minimize the danger and 
postpone the necessity was to have such an army and navy 
as would enable the country to strike swiftly and strike 
hard. Knowledge that the Government was thus ready 
would cause Germany in the present, and all powers 
in the future, to refrain from provoking the United 
States. Therefore adequate defensive force was the 



Preparedness 191 

cheapest policy; millions spent on it would save billions 
in actual war. This view was prophetic; it is now 
historical. 

As a first element in preparedness, he would have had 
all the old coast fortifications made thoroughly modem 
and defensible from the land as well as the sea side, so 
that they might not be an easy prey to expeditions land- 
ing at unprotected points and taking them helplessly in 
the rear. He was in favor of a navy of might enough to 
face any fleet in the world, with scientific basic crews in 
time of peace and an ample reserve. However, the navy 
was not a special interest of his. His personal inclinations 
were toward soldiering and he thought and wrote con- 
tinually on army evolution. 

He favored the creation of a regular army of somewhere 
around two hundred thousand men with a large super- 
numerary corps of officers. He urged the development of 
special services such as artillery , machine guns and aviation , 
to the highest perfection. He favored the accumulation of 
great reserves of guns, small arms, aeroplanes and all other 
instrumentalities of war, so that in case of the sudden 
raising of a great army the material would be ready, at 
hand, to put it in the field without delay. But he realized 
that all these provisions would be without effect if the men 
were not ready to make use of them. He therefore advo- 
cated universal military training of the young men of the 
coimtry, each in some convenient year between the stages 
of boyhood and manhood, when the subject was most 
amenable to discipline and instruction, and would suffer 
least detriment in the shaping of his personal career. His 
views on this subject were based on his study of the Swiss 
and Australian systems. 

He was always convinced that the great majority of 
the American people shared his views on this subject. 
His appraisal of public opinion was embodied in an 



192 One Who Gave His Life 

article, headed Principle Always, which was pubUshed 
on June i, 1915: 

Never before was Memorial Day more fraught than yester- 
day with all that is calculated to stir the spirit of true Ameri- 
canism. The thin columns of gray haired men have heretofore 
served only to remind the citizens of today of the agony the 
nation endured for a principle only half a century ago; the 
younger veterans of the war with Spain have proved that 
within the present generation the same devotion to principle 
still burned ; but now the consciousness of those who watched 
them march is quickened by the knowledge that their country 
faces a test of principle more trying, perhaps, than any it ever 
before faced. . . . 

No true American, by birth or by allegiance, can fail to 
feel the import of a day like yesterday. It was a day to stamp 
out hyphens and inspire Americanism. It was a day to make 
those who in the past have omitted to hang out the flag at the 
window as a formality feel that in 1 915 it is a patriotic duty. 

At the same time, he resented making the Fourth of 
July "Americanization Day." It was unnecessary, he 
argued on June 21, and an insult to the patriotic spirit of 
the people. The presumption should be that foreign-bom 
citizens were Americanized when or before they took out 
their papers. ' ' If not, they never can be Americanized in 
the sense that we desire." He thought all discrimination 
between different sorts of citizens should be avoided. 
Even some citizens by birth "seem at times to accept too 
thoughtlessly the privileges that cost a former generation 
so much blood;" but broadly he thought the loyalty and 
devotion of the people could not be questioned. He 
found, however, inconsiderate selfishness in certain places 
and a week or two later, in The Spirit oj 1915, 
he scourged employers who threw obstacles in the 
way of National Guardsmen attending the instruction 
camps. The principle of service in a democracy he set 



Democracy's Call 193 

forth with spirit and truth in a long article printed on 
July 14, 1916: 

Democracy as understood and carried out in this country, to 
begin with, has required and does require the lives of its citizens 
when needed for its defence. Democracy elsewhere, when- 
ever pressed sufficiently has compelled its citizens to render 
military service. What is more, the very theory of democracy 
implies compulsory military service and justifies what has been 
the practice of democracy since its beginning. 

The civil war furnished the precedent for conscription in the 
United States. No less a democrat than Lincoln ordered the 
drafting of men into the Union army. He did no more than 
follow suit after the Confederacy had taken a similar step. 
Abroad, the most radical democracy that ever existed and 
made good its existence by trial of arms was also the inventor 
of conscription in its modern and national sense. The first 
French Republic, driven by necessity, created a system of 
drafting based on the principle that every man not only was 
in duty bound to bear arms for the republic, but that the ser- 
vice of every man not disqualified would actually be required ; 
the soldiery ceased to form a class apart and the citizen became 
a citizen soldier. More recent practice in such thoroughgoing 
democracies as Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand shows 
how keen is the realization of the democratic military ideal 
of general compulsory service. 

Why does a democracy necessarily involve such an ideal? 
The democratic state, despite its principle of the utmost possi- 
ble liberty to the individual, is logically compelled to place 
certain compulsions upon its citizens; compulsions without 
which their very existence and that liberty which they have 
would be menaced. It subjects citizens to laws and to taxa- 
tion. If democracy can go so far as to restrain by law and to 
constrain by tax for the insurance of the benefits of liberty, 
by so much the more can it require the first service of all for 
defence, which guarantees preservation of the democratic state 
and all its people and institutions from absolute and final 
overthrow. 
13 



194 One Who Gave His Life 

Ideal democracy is no whining beggar, suppliant to the 
passing benefactor; it does not exist simply by the good 
graces of the volunteer soldier. Nor does it tolerate a mighty 
class apart, of paid soldiery, where classes are all abolished 
in universal equality. With its knowledge that the protecting 
class requires the rights of a ruling class, it lays the burden of 
defence on all its citizens. By the strength of its right to 
existence, that it may not perish from the earth, it unhesi- 
tatingly imposes the burden whenever needful. 

In "For America," on August i, he supplemented 
this by saying that all "reasonable Americans compre- 
hend that the safety of the United States depends at all 
times upon a force ready for emergency work." 

For all the forms of disloyalty from pacifism to inter- 
nationalism and from hyphenism to anarchy he had a 
passionate intolerance, which grew more and more intense 
in the early quarter of 191 7 when the war grew nearer and 
nearer to the United States and his own destiny called 
more and more plainly. " The-man-without-a-country 
pose ... so busily preached by agitators who, we must 
believe out of charity, know not what they do," he feared 
might "inculcate in young Americans a spirit of dis- 
loyalty which will ultimately work to their own ruin and 
that of their country. It is well enough to hope for a world 
in which there may be no more war . . . but it is well to 
bear in mind that, if American liberty be not preserved, 
the approximation of an ideal condition for mankind will 
not be rendered easier." Again, on January 2^] , he 
wrote that "the only 'rights' an American citizen has are 
privileges and advantages which, in the last resort, he 
may have to defend with his life." Once more on Febru- 
ary 7: "The cost of unpreparedness cannot be esti- 
mated in dollars and cents. It must be calculated in 
human lives. ... If the United States cannot be strong 
enough to protect its own and just enough to respect the 



Crush Disloyalty i95 

rights of others, American freedom has been a myth from 
the start and will not remain long unexploded." 

Naturally the teaching of anarchism, nihilism, bolshe- 
vism or extreme socialism seemed to him nothing better 
than treason. Under the heading, Education in Sedi- 
tion, he thus backed up a warning uttered by a sincere 
American, whose indiscreet altruism, however well meant 
and however judicially qualified, has not failed to be a 
source of danger to pure Americanism : 

It would have been bad enough if ex-President Taft had 
stated the whole case when he said that : 

"The youths of our country are coming to age without 
realizing the responsibilities of government." 

But it is worse even than this. There is a definite campaign 
afoot to breed in the minds of American youths the idea that 
they owe allegiance and responsibility only to "humanity" — 
although they are to take public schooling, police protection 
and any other advantages that they can get for nothing from 
the United States. Sooner or later it will be necessary for the 
United States to take thought as to what effect the contin- 
ued preaching of such sedition will have ultimately on 
its Government. 

On another occasion, he was still more emphatic : 

Not to be Tolerated 

The right of free speech is not broad enough to cover agita • 
tion, selfish or sentimental, to prevent war by means of 
general strikes, anti-enlistment organization or resistance to 
military draft, no matter what the country's provocation may 
be. Ordinarily little attention is paid to those who preach 
disloyalty in this fashion, but at a time when the country is 
passing through one of the most dangerous crises in its his- 
tory their activities become an actual menace and cannot be 
ignored. 

The right of free speech was incorporated as one of the 



196 One Who Gave His Life 

fundamental elements of American independence, but we 
doubt if the men who fought to establish that independence 
conceived it to be possible that any American citizen would 
ever invoke that right to protect him in preaching allegiance 
only to a "humanity" higher than and beyond the Govern- 
ment of the United States. The "American without a coun- 
try" idea is of comparatively recent origin. In such a time as 
this it should be dealt with summarily, whether enunciated 
from the soap box or in Congress or aired through the medium 
of pacifistic literature. 

He reiterated the need for men; "Guns must have 
Pointers, ' ' he showed in an article on arming the merchant 
ships. He became aroused over the delay of the Govern- 
ment in facing the inevitable, beating at the nation's 
doors. 

On April 25, an unheaded article led the editorial page 
in salutation to the French war delegation, whose coming 
visit to the United States was announced in the morning 
newspapers; he wrote it. It read: 

Hail to "Papa" Joffre, Marshal of France! His country 
could have sent us no other representative to be counted on so 
surely to inspire admiration and affection in Americans. In- 
deed, we loved him before ever he came to us — the quiet, 
unassuming but masterful personality against which the 
voluble bluster of Teutonic egotism broke itself and was 
hurled back in the first agony of defeat. 

Here is a man who can hold his tongue — characteristic, 
truly of a superman ! His very silence is sufficient example to 
Americans to do, not to talk. In the presence of this great 
Frenchman can the United States hesitate to provide forth- 
with the soldiers required to finish the work which the poilus 
under his direction so gloriously began ? 

Viviani, the eloquent voice of France, and Joffre, the arm 
that has wielded her sword so well in defence of democracy, 
must stir us to the action for which our allies wait. 



A Last Word i97 

The articles and extracts from articles here given are 
only a fraction of Mills's war work. He wrote attacks 
on the Central Powers, argumentative and temperamental ; 
he discussed every detail of military preparation. A great 
deal of his writing was bitter polemic, called forth by the 
circumstances of the moment and chiefly directed against 
slowTiess and insufficiency in preparation for the deadly 
struggle. Naturally a great part of this was similar in 
tone and character to the work of those associated with 
him and much of it has lost its edge and interest from 
lapse of time. The effort here has been to give illustrations 
in which his personality asserted itself with lasting trench- 
ancy. As his first editorial has been given in this chapter, 
so shall be his last. 

Some men would have looked for means of making this 
effort in some sense a dramatic cHmax. It was character- 
istic in Mills that he never thought of doing so. He was 
far too simple and sincere. Yet, by an odd coincidence, 
the headline of the article is significant and the tone is in 
keeping with the step he was just about to take as he wrote 
it. It was written and published on May lo, 191 7 • 

Greeting and Dedication 

There was a particular appropriateness in the fact that, 
instead of men in uniform, children, boys and girls from the 
public schools made up the most notable contingent of New 
Yorkers chosen to extend the city's formal greeting to Marshal 
Joffre, M. Viviani, and the other members of the French war 
commission on the City Hall plaza yesterday. 

It is for the citizens of to-morrow, the children of to-day, 
that the poilus, whom the great Field Marshal has led and as 
whose representatives he and his distinguished associates now 
come to us, have been fighting for nearly three years. It is 
for these citizens of to-morrow that the soldiers of America 
must now do their part. 



198 One Who Gave His Life 

That the children of to-day, the children not only of France 
and England and America and of the other Allied and neutral 
nations, but the children also of Germany and her allies, may 
grow up free men and women the civilized forces of the world 
are now contending against a renascent barbarism the more 
terrible in that it grasps and turns to its own ghastly purposes 
the products of man's genius throughout the centuries. 

That there could be any other than one outcome of this 
struggle, that America should not play a heroic part in this 
struggle — both are unthinkable! And there was something 
profoundly symbolic in the presence of American children at 
the ceremony in which America's greatest city dedicated its 
heart and soul and strength to the battle for the freedom of the 
world. No wonder that men were moved to tears, they knew 
not why. 

All along, during the two years that he furnished these 
important contributions to the public understanding of the 
war and of so many other serious questions. Mills furnished 
daily a number of short paragraphs, generally of a witty 
turn, upon current happenings. Just two or three of these 
may be rescued from the jaws of time, to show the style : 

March 3, 191 5 — The circus has the spineless woman on 
exhibition at the Garden; the State of New York is exhibiting 
the spineless man at Albany. 

April I, 1 91 5 — Revised figures show that Philadelphia paid 
Billy Sunday at the rate of $2.93 a head for making converts 
there, while the election rate for repeaters in Terre Haute was 
only $1 per. The Hon. Billy makes the politicians look like 
pikers. 

March 17, 191 6 — The most important spring opening so far 
announced is the Panama Canal, April 15. 

August 7, 1 91 6 — Undoubtedly the Long Islander who killed a 
shark with a baseball bat dreamed that he was for once getting 
even with the umpire. 

March 13, 191 7 — The poor benighted Hindoo, he does the 



Appraisal by a Colleague i99 

best he kindoo, to get a little easy honey out of the Kaiser's 
secret service money. 

April 6, 191 7— The Reichstag seeks needlessly for some such 
title as "WiUiam the Faithful" whereby to bequeath the 
Kaiser to posterity. History will write him "William the 
Conquered." 

Light-hearted stuff! Trivial? Well, the public had its 
daily smile. 

Now, while Mills was thus pursuing his trade as critic of 
events, it will be of interest to learn how he developed his 
own personality and what impression he made upon the 
men with whom he was most closely associated. One of 
these was Mr. PhiHp Coan, the second in seniority of the 
editorial writers of The Evening Sun. He and Mills had a 
cordial acquaintance of some years' standing. In the 
diaries, there are memoranda of long walks they took 
together in the Orange Mountains. Mr. Coan has pre- 
pared for this book an "appreciation" of his dead friend. 
It supplies the need for an intimate personal view at this 
point. It is given in full as written : 

By Philip Coan 

Quincy came to us in the editorial room of The Evening 
Sun when the war in Europe had been going on about half 
a year. The three other occupants of that room were, 
personally, early and earnest sympathizers with the cause 
of the nations leagued together to resist Germany. They 
were men who had lived more or less in Europe and gained 
thus, as in their work, very definite ideas about the con- 
flict. The newcomer in this little group was on the con- 
trary identified with other thoughts and activities. He 
took in his work an earnest interest and pride which was a 
delight to behold. When not writing, he occupied himself 
with reading and storing away pamphlets and pubhc docu- 



200 One Who Gave His Life 

ments which accumulated in impressive bundles on the 
shelves. They related to his specialty ; and that specialty 
was the public business of the city and state of New York, 
the thing known among us as local politics. 

Even at that time, it is true, the man felt and expressed 
the natural and healthy dislike, or better, contempt for 
the brutal nation that was piling up so much crass success. 
He felt the first movement of admiration for the gallant 
resistance of the invaded nations on the Western front. 
But this feeling was not yet intensely personal, and his 
chief thoughts ran in another direction. In all this he 
was the average generous-minded but healthily and 
properly home-thinking young typical American of his 
age. We saw the change as it came over him in the next 
year or so, altering him from the sympathetic but detached 
spectator of the foreign tragedy into an unflinching, burn- 
ing champion of American armed intervention. And this 
change, I think, was also typical of that going on in thou- 
sands of young men more or less like himself: very like 
him indeed in thoughts of what was right and advisable 
in this crisis for their beloved country. 

The influence of several men closeted together day after 
day and working side by side in an endeavor to catch and 
express the sense of events of topmost general importance 
is a subtle thing. Such a group of men come to share 
in common opinions, sentiments, that they could not for 
the life of them remember having discussed. Discussion 
enough among them there is, but it commonly takes the 
form of tilts leading to apparent disagreements. The 
disagreements are over matters of detail, often, which 
look enormously important at the moment, but a brief 
absence or the current contact with the views of outside 
folk affords constant reminders of how close has grown the 
mental partnership of the collaborators. Quincy un- 
doubtedly took on some of his increasingly intimate 



Awakening 201 

interest in the war and America's attitude from his daily- 
companions. They have now in their minds the con- 
sciousness that they played, among his other associates, a 
part, however unconscious, in preparing his sacrifice to 
the cause of a safer civilization. 

But when I come to seek recollection of the little 
happenings that marked the awakening of the servant of a 
high cause in our companion, the particulars for the most 
part elude me. He used to come and observe the alter- 
ations in the military line that I kept marked on a map 
with colored tacks. He must have participated in the 
endless talk about the fighting situation that went on. I 
do not remember that the cruel gas attack, the first of its 
kind, near Ypres, drew from him any especial comment ; on 
the wrongfulness of such lawless warfare we were all pretty 
well agreed. 

Then they sank the great liner Lusitania, and over one 
hundred Americans, men, women and children, went down. 
This touched him directly in his patriotic sentiments as an 
American. It gave him, I think, his first definite idea 
that we should sooner or later have to enter the struggle. 
The dismay at those deaths came very close. It produced 
in him the natural and common anger with the German 
ambassador von Bernstorff. He could not understand 
or condone the actions of the U-Boats which lent no hand 
while their victims drowned. The fate of these country- 
men of his brought closer to him the sufferings of the 
harried and outraged population of the invaded regions, 
as the particulars of that more distant horror little by little 
came in. 

Quincy's personal acquaintance with Mayor Mitchel 
grew stronger no doubt in the months that followed. 
Mitchel played in his case the part of a leader, to a certain 
extent; a leader closer and better known than Roosevelt. 
He soon became an enthusiastic supporter of the campaign 



202 One Who Gave His Life 

for military preparedness. I recall his disappointment at 
the rejection of Secretary of War Garrison's plan for 
improving the militia, and his dislike for the substitute 
legislation providing what he deemed a mere miHtia 
subsidy. He branched out from his specialty of local 
affairs, to write earnest and vigorous editorials on the sub- 
ject of military preparation. He had reached by the 
middle of 191 6 a conviction that we should have to go to 
war in the near future. He dreaded the prospect of an 
initial botch which might greatly increase the cost in lives 
for us. He felt in this stage of his transformation that 
he would before long become a part of the army that must 
go overseas. 

Some have formed the idea that this destined soldier felt 
on going into the war a presentiment of what it had in store 
for him. Of this possibility I had no direct evidence ; on 
the other hand I recall that he entertained for months, as 
the time of his passage from us approached, a besetting 
consciousness of the gravity of the task looming ahead : his 
and the country's. He would repeat with approval the 
warnings given out to the student officers at the Platts- 
burg camp, that we must stand ready to fight for several 
years and lose men by the million. In part, he accepted 
these depressing prophecies instructively as an inoculation 
against discouragement, which they were. At the same 
time it was his nature to measure the leap before taking it 
and to count coldly and methodically the cost of a duty 
which he followed as compelling. Impulsive and dashing 
men such as we all know make the surrender of themselves 
without stopping to consider. Without detracting from 
the peculiar virtue of such men of the headlong type, one 
may hold that the man who calculates the full nature of 
the peril before him and knowing it accepts the course that 
his conscience commands displays in its full flower that 
faculty of man which we call the free and dominant will. 



Plattsburg Evolution 203 

Between his absences at the Plattsburg training camp, 
our colleague spent several busy months with us. I 
remember his return from the first course of training, 
heavier, ruddy and brisk of movement, but with mind 
disused by different toil to the kind of mental task at 
which he had long revealed his excellence among us. It 
was not a different man who thus returned, but at least a 
modified one. He had already taken something and given 
something which marked him apart. We saw the begin- 
ning of the change that made him over into a higher being 
than even the faithful thinker and toiler and the brave 
believer in worthy things whom we had known. 

Few men could have had less to say, vocally, on the 
purpose with which they went to war. The business in 
hand occupied him. He did not waste his breath on the 
ins and outs of a conflict that breath alone, in his evident 
opinion, would not settle. He had, I think, the gift of 
putting the problem before himself in its simplest terms, 
that is, of narrowing his field of intense reactions to the 
work in hand. His conscience led him to action through 
appeal to the diligent reason and perceptions of an editor ; 
but when he went to war he left behind him the sedentary 
weakness of the editorial mind. 



CHAPTER VII 

Final Training at Plattsburg and a False Start for France — De- 
pressing Conditions and an Inadequate Commission — Assign- 
ment TO AN Iowa Regiment. 

By this time it will have become plain that Mills was 
not the man to cry preparedness to other people and re- 
main inactive himself. The truth is that, as he formed the 
opinion that the United States would have to enter the 
war sooner or later and as it grew stronger and stronger 
in him, the resolve developed side by side with his con- 
viction that he should do a man's part — a young man's 
part — in the great duty of National defence. He was 
beyond the age for conscription, at least on the first call, 
but he never thought of that. It was his will and his 
pleasure to do his duty by his country. 

Further, he made up his mind to render the best service 
he could. He was conscious that he had something to give 
besides his life. He realized that to go in as a private 
soldier would be to waste himself. But if he expected to 
serve as an officer and to captain other men, he knew that 
he must prepare in a special way. He had lived thirty 
years as a man of peace, a thorough-going civilian ; to be 
ready to do effective work as a soldier, he must begin early 
and work hard to acquire military training. The oppor- 
tunity came when the Government announced its plans 
for the training camp for business men at Plattsburg in 
the late summer of 19 15. Mills determined to devote 
his vacation to this experience and arranged with The 

204 



Early Soldiering 205 

Evening Sun office for an extension to cover the whole 
encampment. 

He was one of the first to apply for duty in the camp and 
he was accepted. Mayor Mitchel, influenced by exactly 
similar motives, also enrolled as did more than a thousand 
citizens of New York of high standing in business, law, 
medicine and journalism. There were three encampments 
altogether, the first for college students early in the sum- 
mer, the others running from August lo to September 
6 and September 8 to October 6. Mills was in the Au- 
gust tour. He was assigned to Company A of the First 
Regiment and had become a Corporal when the training 
period came to a close. Robert L. Bacon of diplomatic 
fame and Mayor Mitchel were the amateur Heutenants of 
the company. The roster reads like a directory of direc- 
tors, or a list of social leaders. Out of these men, as in the 
case of Mills, and their like in other parts of the country, 
the American Expeditionary army was largely officered 
two years later. 

To Mills, the service meant sacrifice in many ways. 
There were a dozen more entertaining things he might 
have done during his vacation. To make up for the loss 
of pay for two weeks of extra leave, he had to utilize 
every moment he could save from duty to write the news 
of the camp for The Eveyiing Sun. He started off, however, 
in high spirits and on the evening of his arrival sent a 
letter to his mother, telling her of all the men he knew in 
the gathering and of sharing a tent with five comrades 
and being quite at home despite a fierce rain beating down 
on the canvas. Indeed he enjoyed the experience through- 
out, and profited by it in health and physical condition. 
It had even a broadening effect on his mentality. 

He shot well, making 'jy out of a possible lOO in his 
first try-out at the ranges. Later, he qualified as a marks- 
m^an, and brought home a Sharpshooter's Medal as proof 



2o6 One Who Gave His Life 

of his prowess; "pretty good work," he says on a picture 
postal card, "for a rookie who never shot a rifle before. 
The reason was that I saw a spiked helmet on top of every 
bull's-eye I shot at. " He came through the * * hike" or long 
march of several days with which the encampment ter- 
minated in fine shape. Just as he started, the Outlook for 
August 25 reached him with his maiden effort in maga- 
zine writing. It was an article on New York under a 
Commission Form of Government. He had written it 
and it was accepted several months previously; he wrote 
his mother that it had lost its acute interest by the delay. 
It was, however, a clever outline of the municipal ma- 
chinery and it included statements by the Mayor, Comp- 
troller Prendergast and President McAneny as to their 
plans and ideals for civic upbuilding. 

Mills's letters to The Evening Sun were breezy and 
sketchy, but thought and purpose always ran through 
them. One he began with a bit of tent doggerel : 

Oh, the infantry, the infantry, with dirt behind their ears; 
Oh, the infantry, the infantry, that drink their weight in beers — 
Oh, the cavalry, artillery and the bloomin' engineers, 
They couldn't lick the infantry in a hundred thousand years ! 

This was sung to the tune of A Son of a Gamholeer, by 
the marching men. 

"But what about it if you haven't got any infantry, or 
cavalry, or engineers to speak of ? " was the comment of a 
United States officer who listened and watched. 

Here was the keynote of all the articles : What it the 
country had not the troops, how could it protect itself? — 
the need of preparation ! 

One strange piece of psychology he noted. The en- 
rolled business men never mentioned the war that was 
raging across the sea. It was too serious. There was no 
formal taboo, but not a word. Naturally the sayings and 



"Plattsburg Psychology" 207 

doings of Mayor Mitchel and all the local celebrities were 
mentioned, sometimes with rather unsparing fun, but 
always good-naturedly. The letters were a strong feature 
and a great circulation maker for the paper. An interview 
with Mayor Mitchel, based on his observation and experi- 
ence, emphasized the folly of the old militia or volunteer 
style of raising a modern army. 

All the reports from the first camp, that of 191 5, 
whether written for publication or for family reading were 
highly optimistic. The effect on the men both personally 
and in a military sense was appraised by Mills as advan- 
tageous. One product of his observation was a long edi- 
torial on Plattshurg Psychology which was published on 
September 25. The occasion was the encampment of 
the New York National Guard regiments at Van Cortlandt 
Park with an attendance of 10,000 men. This was not a 
war move, but the spirit underlying it was akin to that of 
Plattsburg. The article urged citizens to visit the camp 
and see the great military show, but not to miss the lesson 
underlying it. In it Mills said these wise things : 

Plattsburg's camps would have been a waste of money if 
they had produced no other effect on the students than an 
admiration and a desire for the military life. This the camps 
are not doing. They are taking a mass of raw material, mixed 
in with which there are some adventurous spirits of course 
who would not object to taking any sort of chance at any time, 
but the great part of which consists of serious-minded men who 
are vaguely apprehensive that the country may not be able to 
take care of itself in case of trouble. In the mass, the camps 
are developing an educated mental state that knows why the 
national danger exists and what to do to remedy it. Platts- 
burg is actually training a psychological army, not a physical 
one. 

The psychology of these military instruction camps and the 
way in which it is created are the most interesting things 



2o8 One Who Gave His Life 

about them. The detachment from the outside world is 
remarkable. The camps owe their existence certainly to the 
Great War and their critics charge that they are conducted for 
the purpose of promoting war, yet war is the one subject that is 
not discussed in these tent cities. If it were forbidden as a 
subject of conversation by an order from headquarters scarcely 
less cotild be heard of it. As a prominent rookie attending the 
first gathering of business men on the shore of Lake Champlain 
put it : 

"Well, I guess they are still fighting over there, but I've 
been so busy learning that I can't learn to carry a rifle right 
that darned if I hadn't forgotten there was a war." . . . 

The futility of our attempting to resist an invading force 
armed with machine guns without a defensive force similarly 
equipped is obvious to the Plattsburg students and graduates. 
Psychology may not be a prescribed course at West Point, but 
the officers at Plattsburg certainly apply it in admirable fash- 
ion through the object lesson of the blue steel machine gun 
barrel mounted on its tripod. If any rookie went to Platts- 
burg desirous of seeing his country go to war, the machine gun 
lesson changed him into a confirmed anti-militarist, but an 
ardent advocate of such steps as may be necessary to render 
the country capable of opposing force with adequate force if 
the need should ever arise. 

The infantry in battle formation, the artillery and the 
machine guns all went on exhibition at Van Cortlandt Park 
this morning. If they were brought out only to be viewed as a 
display the wear and tear had better been saved. But if the 
visitors look behind the display and realize that the entire 
National Guard of the State of New York, if turned into 
officers, would be no more than sufficient to officer the State's 
quota of a volunteer army ; that the regular army, east of the 
Mississippi River, possesses just twelve field artillery pieces, 
and that we have to-day only a small fraction of the machine 
guns and the men to man them that we should need in case 
of emergency, the manoeuvres were not planned in vain. Just 
as the Plattsburg camps are held to teach men to think rather 



Second Encampment 209 

than to fight, to-day's show at Van Cortlandt was conceived 
to make its audience reflect, not enjoy itself in smug security. 

His views and reports of the second encampment in 
1 91 6 were much more subdued. He was doubtful whether 
the training was not too intensive for men who came to it 
soft from banks and law offices and counting-houses. He 
himself was mustered in as acting sergeant and he came 
out with the full grade. This gave him a chance to learn 
management of men ; he had a squad of twenty-five or so 
under his immediate orders. He succeeded. He had the 
approval of the United States officers in charge and he was 
popular with his squad. Nothing ever damped his play- 
ful spirit ; he forgot a box or two of choice smokes when he 
started. His way of calling for them was this in huge 
letters on a postal card' 

s-o-s s-o-s s-o-s 

MEANING 
SEND ON SIGARS 

TO 

Q. S. Mills, Co. G., Eighth Regiment 
Plattsburg Training Camp 

In most respects, the life of this camp was a repeti- 
tion of the former one. Mills diversified it by making a 
trip to Montreal, which he enjoyed enormously. He 
thought the city most beautiful and the decoration of the 
churches delighted him. He makes in a long descriptive 
letter this singular comment : " It impresses me as being 
more American than any city in the United States, which 
I have visited." He adds: "While it is a city it has not 
lost touch with the country, which makes it a real habita- 
14 



210 One Who Gave His Life 

tion for human beings, instead of a gigantic modem hotel 
like New York, where people merely put up over night." 

During this encampment, he was greatly impressed 
by the United States officers with whom he came into im- 
mediate contact. All of them, he wrote to his mother were 
' ' men whom it is profitable to know. ' ' He mentioned with 
especial enthusiasm Captain T. Miller, of Macon, Georgia, 
who commanded his company. Apparently he made 
Miller his ideal of a successful officer, "a strict discipli- 
narian, yet lovable. ' ' The men always ' ' swore by him but 
never at him." "When he said, 'Go!' the company got 
up and got without any delay whatever." Mills no doubt 
made this man his model when he became an officer. All 
that his soldiers and his comrades say of him, so indicates. 
He sent home a couple of postal card photographs of 
Miller. The fine, firm face is good evidence of the accu- 
racy of his admirer's judgment. 

The pace set in this camp was much hotter than in the 
191 5 one. Probably the visible gathering of war clouds 
in the American sky influenced the military experts, in 
spite of the strange "slogan" upon which the national 
election of that year was keyed. Whatever the reason, 
they drove the men hard — too hard for business * ' rookies, ' ' 
not accustomed to the strenuous physical life. Apparently 
this condition was realized when the "hike" was made. 
The days' marches were reduced. Even so, some of the 
men had to drop out. 

Mills, however, went through with flying colors and 
came home more than ever convinced of the approach of 
war and determined to have his share in it. His mind was 
so made up that he arranged at once to continue active 
training. He bought and studied constantly a number 
of books on military science, including both the general 
principles and infantry organization and tactics. Early in 
1916, an Officers' Training Corps for Newspapermen was 



Prompt Volunteer 211 

formed in New York. He was one of the original members. 
Among his papers is the postal card notice of the opening 
drill at eight o'clock on the evening of Thursday, January 
20, at the Seventy-first Regiment Armory, Thirty-fourth 
Street and Park Avenue. This organization held drills 
under United States Army officers continuously until 
191 7. Ultimately the field of operations was transferred 
to Governor's Island. Mills was an unfailing attendant 
until his entry into the final Plattsburg camp of instruction 
after war was declared. By that time, he was well 
grounded in the theory of the soldier's trade and for an 
amateur was well drilled in field tactics and the manual 
of arms. 

As soon as war was declared and the plans for the 
Officers' Camp at Plattsburg were announced, he filed his 
application, secured the necessary endorsements from 
citizens of standing, and set all his poHtical influence at 
work to insure his designation to it. He was successful. 
He did his last work for The Evening Sun on Wednesday, 
May 9 — the article already quoted which appeared on 
the loth. On the i ith he started on the crowning adven- 
ture of his life. Arriving at Plattsburg on the morning of 
Saturday, the 12th, he wrote home at once that it was just 
like old times to be there again. He was enrolled at first 
in the 12th Company, Second Regiment. It was bitter 
cold and pouring rain and sleeting hail, when he arrived, 
but everyone was jolly. There was plenty of coarse but 
nourishing food and despite outrageously hard conditions, 
the crowd of patriotic volunteers remained in good humor 
through the monotony of the first days, only broken by 
medical examinations, exchange of civilian outfits for miH- 
tary kits and other like preliminaries. 

Conditions in the camp were disgracefully bad. Cots 
were so crowded along the walls of the wooden barracks 
that they were in close contact and the sleepers breathed 



212 One Who Gave His Life 

into each others' faces; this was remedied later by double 
tiering as in a ship. There was no way of heating the 
shacks; the mess tables were open to the four winds of 
heaven on top of a hill, with just a roof to stop the rain. 
Lighting was so bad that reading or writing after dark was 
almost impossible ; the bathing faciHties were poor with no 
warm water and the sanitary provisions were outrageously 
inadequate and crude. Only the cold weather averted 
sickness. All these faults were remedied by degrees in the 
course of three or four weeks, but as there had been five 
weeks available in which to prepare the camp. Mills and 
his comrades could not understand — nor can anyone now 
— why the work should not have been done in advance of 
their arrival. The food was always wholesome and plenti- 
ful, but, considering that all these volunteers came from 
good homes and were designed to become officers, it is not 
easy to see why it was as primitive as might be expected in 
a laborers' camp on a railway construction job. 

All these things are in the record; they are a reproach 
to the War Department, but they did not affect the in- 
domitable spirit of the corps of cadets. The men took it 
all cheerfully and plunged courageously into the difficult 
task of making themselves professional army officers in 
eight or ten weeks. Mills was at once singled out as well 
posted on drill and, "first crack out of the box," he was 
assigned to the elementary instruction of the greener men. 
But he lost his head in no way; no one ever was more 
modest. ' ' You may be sure that if hard work will get me 
there, I will get," he writes. Hard work and his own 
deficiencies were his constant theme, though he acknowl- 
edges now and again that he was * ' at least as good as the 
average." Besides the unfinished state of the camp, 
another great error soon became manifest : the number of 
regular army officers was far too small. At first it was 
about one to 165 men, later one to 150, exclusive of field 



Chose the Infantry 213 

and staff. This, Mills thought, was just about one-third 
the force necessary for efficient instruction. To train 150 
men is too big a job for one; "his throat simply cannot 
stand it." As for the cadets, the day was a never ceasing 
jump from one duty to another, with the intervals filled 
in with learning the regulations and all study disturbed 
by the noise of the carpenters still banging away. 

However, this is not a history of the Plattsburg camp 
but of Mills's passage through it. While he helped break 
in the awkward squad of his company, he took a course in 
signalling himself and soon was able to pass a practical 
test with almost a hundred per cent mark. He was greatly 
encouraged because he escaped "bawling out" altogether. 
He was "appalled " at his own ignorance, but as he was as 
good as the average he was still more appalled that the 
country had to depend on such material for its safety in a 
crisis. At any rate, when it was wet and cold they were 
"more cheerful than usual. Trench spirit!" Mills 
had an attack of pink-eye which kept him from study for a 
number of days, but he carried on regardless of it. He 
stopped smoking altogether in order to relieve a catarrhal 
condition and with good results. He had the strength 
of mind to make the stoppage a prolonged one when he 
was sure of the benefit and he gave all his tobacco and 
cigars to a comrade and sent his pipes home for keepsakes. 
"Like old friends they are hard to part with, even though 
communion with them be no longer possible." When men 
were drafted for artillery training he did not apply because 
he did not consider that he had the necessary scientific 
grounding. Anyway, he regarded the infantry as the 
real army, the other branches being mainly valuable as 
support for its operations. 

His love for the beautiful and for nature was 
irrepressible. In June he wrote: "Your speaking of 
looking for violets when out walking on Fort Washington 



214 One Who Gave His Life 

Hill reminds me to say that the woods and fields through 
which we skirmish are carpeted with them. And the grass 
fields are golden with dandelion. I have never enjoyed 
the out-of-doors more in my life. To get back into the 
woods and smell them when they are still bedewed is like 
a translation back to boyhood." 

The transfer of applicants for commissions in the 
artillery and engineer corps caused a condensation of 
companies. Mills now found himself in the 8th, but he 
remained under the same regular army commander. 
Apropos of this change, he wrote regarding the spirit of 
the corps in general : * ' One very interesting fact is that 
fire-eaters are so rare as to be probably non-existent. I 
have yet to hear any man announce that he is full of fight. 
I believe the hope is practically unanimous that the war 
may be at an end before many Americans have to be 
sacrificed. But there is not a man here who would not 
rather go to the trenches than see the war end in any but 
the right way. This is about as high ground as could 
be taken by rational human beings, it seems to me. ' ' His 
mother about this time expressed regret that he had not 
been sent to the artiller3^ as a less dangerous service. He 
replied : "If anyone is going into this war with the safety 
first idea, he can be of more service at home." 

From the very outset, the aloofness of the regular army 
officers from their men impressed Mills as a grave fault ! 
"Personally," he writes, "I look for an absoluta about-face 
in the matter of army spirit and there is no doubt it is 
going to break some martinets' hearts." This was a 
prophetic remark, as everyone now knows. 

The impression took on a personal phase at an early day. 
The commander of Mills's company was a young lieuten- 
ant — later promoted to be captain — who had had an 
unfortunate preparation for the work and who was either 
too reserved by nature or else misconceived sadly the situ- 



Uncongenial Command 215 

ation at Plattsburg. In a very long letter describing the 
camp routine, Mills gives a sketch of him and his career. 
He had been Httle with troops but had served for several 
years on detached service as a prison officer at Fort 
Leavenworth and as an instructor at West Point. "I 
have heard," the letter goes on, "complaint among the 
members of the company that he is making the mistake of 
trying to run a company of educated men of mature years 
as he would run a bunch of prisoners or a class of boy 
cadets." It will not be well to go too deeply into this 
matter. Mills himself greatly modified his opinion of this 
officer as time went on, and all for the better. But there 
is no doubt that for several weeks he was unhappy in his 
relations with his immediate superior on whom his future 
depended. There was no clash, but no cordiahty; the 
officer never "bawled him out," but on the other hand 
never gave him a word or a sign of encouragement. The 
officer's attitude was impersonal, distant, coldly superior, 
though his men were socially and mentally his equals and 
far ahead of him in knowledge of the world. 

Mills was an earnest upholder of discipUne, so he made 
no outward display of resentment ; but in his soul he chafed 
and fretted and unquestionably he was handicapped in his 
work and in the showing that he made in tests and exami- 
nations. This is shown in his letters by an almost morbid 
anxiety as to whether he was "making good" and would 
receive a commission. In a memorandum on this phase of 
his camp life, his mother writes: 

In my notes on Quincy's school life, I mentioned his friction 
with a teacher of one of his schools. There was but one other 
instance in his career when he was at odds with anyone placed 
in authority over him. This was at the Officers' Training 
Camp at Plattsburg in 1917. The officers above him in 1915 
and 1 91 6 became his firm friends. But his commandant in the 
191 7 camp was unfortunately uncongenial. Quincy's temper 



2i6 One Who Gave His Life 

was kept on edge. He went through his work with scant 
hope of receiving justice. He so Httle expected at one time to 
be commissioned that he was making arrangements to enter 
the army through another channel. He had, however, no 
intention of using the influence of highly placed friends to 
secure advancement in the army. His realization of an 
officer's responsibility was far too keen to permit him to accept 
any rank not deservedly won by qualifying himself for it. 

To him an atmosphere of amenity and good will was essential. 
He could not put forth his best mental efforts where the air 
was charged with irritation. He refused a fine offer from 
another newspaper, because there were stories afloat as to 
the editor's temper, and no inducement could bring him to risk 
contact with it. The kindly companionship of The Evening 
Sun office was dear to him and he was stimulated by it to 
produce the best that was in him. The suppressed antagonism 
at Plattsburg seriously hindered him in doing himself justice. 

Whether he judged correctly his commander's true in- 
ward attitude toward him may be doubted. He came to 
doubt himself. The issue is raised here merely to throw 
some Hght on the strange result that in spite of his 
relatively mature years, in spite of his unmistakable 
ability, in spite of his devotion to the cause, he received 
a commission only as Second Lieutenant. It was due, 
beyond doubt, in some degree to his failure to show himself 
at his full value. There was an improvement in his 
status after a visit that Mayor Mitchel made to the camp. 
Of this. Mills writes: 

I had quite a distinguished caller the other day in the person 
of Mayor Mitchel. He came in to see me especially and gave 
me a very warm personal greeting while the rest of Company 8 

stood on the sidelines and got an earful — and Lieutenant 

was one of those who got it. He was so impressed that he 
made an opportunity, later in the day, to talk with me about 
the Mayor. Incidentally, he complimented specifically The 



Conscientious Scruples 217 

Evening Sun's national defence and universal training edito- 
rials of the past and appeared considerably impressed when he 
learned that I had written them. 

I appreciate Mitchel's personal kindness and I am indebted 

to him for furnishing the opportunity to show what kind 

of head I have. But in this regard I must confess to a feeling 
of disgust that "pull " was necessary to put me in a position of 
advantage. It is true, of course, that I got the pull in the 
first place by establishing myself in Mitchel's respect and it 

may be that the Mitchel boost was only contributory for 

said to one of my friends who went to talk to him over his own 
prospects that "there are going to be lots of surprises in 
Company 8. . . . A lot of men who have been working hard 
and have been heard from seldom are going to be surprised by 
what they get." 

However, the harm was done in Mills's case and hence 
the great surprise that came to his friends — it was none to 
him — in the inadequacy of the grade accorded to him. He 
gradually found more likable qualities in his commander 
and judge, and, indeed, that officer seems to have slowly 
realized the faults of his tone and displayed somewhat 
more sympathetic qualities. Mills, while liking him better, 
became more and more dismayed by the insufficiency of 
the training as compared with the coming ordeal. Toward 
the close of the encampment, on August 5 he wrote; 
"The more I consider the tremendous responsibilities to 
be thrown upon the men who leave Plattsburg and their 
unpreparedness to meet these responsibilities, the more my 
wonder grows as to how this country is to measure up to 
the gigantic test before it." 

His obsession was the officer's responsibility for the lives 
of his men, whether in camp or on the field of battle. 
He wrote of it again and again, dwelling on the 
insufficiency of himself, and his campmates. He spoke on 
the subject to his mother repeatedly. It reconciled him 



2i8 One Who Gave His Life 

to the idea of getting only a Second Lieutenancy as being 
something within the scope of his training. 

At this period, however, he expected a First Lieutenancy. 
He would be glad, he said, if he received it, but adds : "I 
must say frankly that it will not be with any pride of 
position and self-conceit that I will put on the uniform but 
with a deep sense of humility and a consuming desire to 
prove fit to play the part assigned me." He looked to 
radical changes in himself from the new duty. "I feel," 
he said, ' ' a strange impersonal sort of curiosity to see what 
manner of man I shall be made into if I come through. 
But as to worrying about whether I shall come through, it 
never occurs to me and seems a matter of no importance 
whatever in comparison with the overwhelming necessities 
of this world transition period." 

Every man in the camp was called toward the end before 
his company commander, who told him "to weigh the 
situation and himself," and to state frankly how he felt 
about both. This was Mills's reply: "Sir, I must say 
frankly that after being here more than two months I am 
overwhelmed by the sense of my unfitness for a com- 
mission, comparing myself with trained officers like your- 
self; but when I look at the other men about me I feel that 
I am no more unfit than they — am not as unfit as some — 
and I therefore am still an applicant for a commission. 
But if you do not think it will be for the good of the 
service for me to have one I do not want it and I will take 
your judgment without a murmur. That is the basis on 
which commissions should be allotted and I believe you are 
trying to allot them in that way." 

To this, the commanding officer replied: "Mr. Mills, 
the way you feel about your unfitness is a sure sign that 
you are on the right road. It is an inspiring thing to me 
to have you feel as you do. Every man in the company 
should feel that way." 



Second Lieutenant 219 

Mills comments : 

It was mighty fine to have him say that to me. Altogether, 
I think he considers my possibilities far ahead of my present 
performance, although when he called me out to drill the 
company last week I drilled it without making a single blunder 
and without getting a "call," which is unusual. I was told 
afterward that there was general comment on the soldierly 
way I handled the men and that everyone was surprised I did 
so well because I was so unostentatious. 

On August 10, he was assured privately but positively 
that he would be commissioned. To his mother he wrote : 
"It will be a Second Lieutenancy or a grade lower than I 
anticipated but I have no kick coming. Indeed, if I had 
been passing out the commissions I do not think I would 
have given myself one. ' ' In his last letter from the camp, 
written August 13, he furnished what is probably the 
true or at least the principal explanation of his low grading. 
He wrote again to his mother : 

Your congratulations are appreciated but I do not agree 
with your estimate of my military proficiency. I am not good 
enough for a captaincy, but I would have liked to fill out a 
first lieutenancy. If I had had to choose on my own account I 
should have taken the latter for reasons of personal pride rather 
than fitness and because responsibility for the lives of 150 or 
more men is not to be taken lightly. I rather think that had 
not some six designations for first Lieutenancy been changed 
arbitrarily for this company at Washington, I might have had 
that rank. The change was made in order to put six regular 
army sergeants in as first lieutenants. The commandant 
was not very well pleased at having to cut down his men to 
second lieutenants to make room for them. Promotion is 
likely to come pretty fast for men who have the goods, how- 
ever; so don't be disappointed. 

The commission was delivered to Mills on August 15 
and he at once hurried home. There he stayed for more 



220 One Who Gave His Life 

than two weeks, enjoying the last days of association with 
his parents. He had become engaged to a young lady, 
a distant cousin, who had for some time previously been 
the frequent companion of his theatre-going and of his 
country rambles. The difficult question of marrying or 
not marrying before he sailed for France had to be sifted 
down and settled. It was Mills who decided it in the 
negative, despite his warmest inclinations, in the same 
spirit of self-effacement and care for the fortunes of those 
he loved that marked his entire private life. Through 
this time of relaxation he went about, seeing his friends 
and completing arrangements for his departure with a 
wonderful cheeriness that left many who noted it sad with 
instinctive forboding beneath the admiration and pride 
that his demeanor inspired. 

He had become a Freemason in 1907, a member of the 
Statesville Lodge, and had given a good deal of study to 
the lore of the order. It had for some time slipped into 
the background of his life. Now, however, on the eve of 
sailing for Europe, his interest was re-awakened. There 
was a great Masonic service held, consuming a whole day, 
at which some three hundred young officers were raised to 
the Thirty-second degree. Quincy was of the nimiber and 
thereafter he wore a massive Masonic ring of chiseled gold 
which was found on his body and sent to his parents. 

On September i , he was ordered to Camp Upton and 
he reported there the same afternoon. The next day, 
Special Order No. 10 was issued from the Headquarters of 
the Twenty-seventh Division, transferring a long list of 
officers to Mineola to take an extended course in field 
service. Mills's name was among them and he was greatly 
pleased. The instruction promised to be most interesting 
and it pointed to staff or other advanced class of duty in 
France. He was doomed to disappointment. A more 
urgent need developed and the next day, September 3, 



Militia Duty 221 

he was one of 150 Plattsburg graduates ordered for duty as 
' ' extra officers " to serve with National Guard regiments at 
Camp Mills. All those so designated went to the National 
Guard unwillingly, but without a word of protest. They 
had hoped to drill the new national levies that were then 
being made on a huge scale. They believed it would be 
easier to deal with the raw material than with men ac- 
customed to militia laxity and that better results could be 
attained. They expected much opposition, too, from the 
guard officers. Fortunately they found their fears un- 
realized in both respects. 

Mills's first assignment was to serve with the famous 
fighting Sixty-ninth Regiment of New York City, mustered 
into the new army as the 165th. He had a momentary 
hesitation at the prospect, not from race prejudice — for 
some years one of his nearest friends had been a man of 
Irish birth — but perhaps because of some fear of clash 
of temperaments over his very strict ideas of discipline. 
The reluctance vanished speedily, however, for on Sep- 
tember 5, he wrote with regret that he was not to be with 
this regiment. "Its officers and men," he said, "have 
been so courteous and considerate of us, I would gladly be 
with them and go right on over the top with them when- 
ever they get ready." At the same time he formed the 
conviction that it would be a distinction to serve in the 
Rainbow Division : "It will, in time, grow to be the Honor 
Legion of the army," he wrote. "Therefore assignment 
to it appeals to me. Anyway, I have a more or less 
fatalistic attitude toward the future." 

He kept on enjoying life — the music at the Garden City 
Hotel; "when we haven't anything to do we can look at 
the pretty girls — and be looked at by them." But when 
he heard one of them scolding a fur salesman for offering 
her "common and cheap wares, at $500 a set," he was 
tempted to tell her ' * she might do her bit by making out 



222 One Who Gave His Life 

with last winter's furs and donating the cost of this year's 
to war work." Counsels of prudence prevailed, however, 
and he remained silent. 

His assignment was not made until September 1 6. It 
was to the i68th Infantry, an organization based upon the 
Third National Guard Regiment of Iowa, which had a 
fighting record in the Civil War and had served as the 
Fifty -first Volunteers in the War with Spain, going to 
Manila and fighting seventeen battles in the Philippine 
campaign before being sent home in September, 1899. 
The members were enthusiastic citizen-soldiers. They 
had always maintained their numbers and kept up their 
drill. In June, 1916, they were mustered into the Federal 
service for that strange Mexican adventure under General 
Pershing. Mustered out on February 20, 191 7, they were 
recalled to active service on July 15. The spirit of 
Iowa was true and every company was full and all three 
regiments of the State Guard had long lists of eager 
applicants for enlistment. On August 5, the Third 
was formally drafted into the National Army. It was 
assigned to the Rainbow Division as the i68th. On 
September 9, under Colonel Ernest R. Bennett, the 
regiment started east, a vast crowd of friends gathering to 
cheer the men and wish them good luck. On the 13th, 
Camp Mills was reached and there the extra officers from 
Plattsburg and other training camps were sent to introduce 
the leaven of regular army discipline and up-to-date 
combat tactics. 

Mills wrote his first impressions of the organization to 
his mother. The home officers, he found plain, "square- 
headed" types. The enlisted men were "about eighty 
per cent farm products, big and rawboned and also raw 
as far as military standards go, but with the makings of a 
bunch of 'bad scrappers' in them." He goes on: "I 
have been cordially received, well fed and have no kick. 



Drilling the lowans 223 

In fact I like it. . . . Well, what do you think of me, a 
pen pusher, going to war with a crowd of hay pitchers? 
The last thing you look for is always the one to expect." 
He found many old friends among the Plattsburg officers, 
Lieutenant Rubel, whom he praises as an expert signal 
officer and who was to die at almost the same moment as 
himself, his Masonic friend, Lieutenant L. M. Campbell 
Adams, and others. Many new friends were made, among 
them Lieutenant Pearsall, who later came to command 
Company G, with which Mills served until his death. The 
first commander was Captain Steller, who was wounded in 
France and shifted to the Service of Supply. Mills's 
tent mate was Lieutenant, afterwards Captain, Younkin. 

The men had a few days ' rest and then serious work was 
begun. Mills had a squad of fifty to drill. He enjoyed 
the work hugely. He soon made the reputation of being 
one of the best equipped of the "extra" officers attached 
to the regiment. His knowledge of the infantry drill and 
regulations was especially accurate and it became quite 
the rule for ' ' sheepish corporals " to come to him in strings, 
admitting their blunders and the justness of his criticisms. 
"This," he remarks in passing, "is a mighty good thing." 
He found, besides, that he developed more in a week of this 
independent work than he had in the months of repression 
at Plattsburg. Some of the officers who had known him 
there expressed astonishment at his new efficiency and 
told him that if he had let himself go in the same way at 
the training camp he would have "pulled down" a cap- 
tain's commission. The difference was all in the atmos- 
phere and in Mills's temperament. 

The routine was varied by reviews for high army officers 
and for magnates from the home State, the Governor of 
Iowa, the United States Senators and others. Mills, in 
addition, was constantly meeting North Carolinians — the 
doctor who put him through his final physical examination, 



224 One Who Gave His Life 

for instance, was a contemporary of his at the University — 
and this always gave a momentary spice to Hfe. The 
serious worries, on the other hand, were the indescribable 
backwardness of equipment, the blunders of the supply 
system and the absolute rottenness of the mails. He 
was also "more and more disgruntled with the discipline." 
He wanted "to see the screws put down, good and proper, 
with all the officers as well as the soldiers turned out for 
reveille." One result of this was that he was probably 
more popular for a time with the officers outside his com- 
pany than in it. He saw signs of certain ones finding it 
uncomfortable to have their junior know more than they 
did. Yet, there was no small fear lest the extra officers 
should be withdrawn when the regiment was sent abroad. 
Mills was a man to be relied on and so were other extras. 

About October 8, there were signs of a move. "Some 
of our roots are being pulled up," wrote Mills. Major 
Stanley in command of his battalion, the Second, asked 
him what he would do if the choice were given him of 
going over with the i68th or being transferred to one of 
the new regiments then being organized. He said he 
found himself so pleasantly situated that he would hesitate 
to change. As for discipline, he trusted to new conditions 
in France. He was eager to go over — ' ' I hate to have you 
worried about me so soon, but that is all." It was soon 
decided that he was to go. Then he spent a day arranging 
his baggage and painting his name on his trunks. When 
the paint dried he would be ready to sail on five minutes' 
notice. 

The start — it was a false start — came on Thursday, 
October i8. That morning Mills wrote to his mother: 
' ' You are certainly a brave woman and you must continue 
to be so, for it would not be worthy of you to be 
otherwise." 

This letter was postmarked at Hempstead at i :30 p.m. 



German Treachery 225 

Later in the afternoon the regiment entrained and was 
taken toHoboken, where the entire Eighty -fourth Brigade, 
mustering 5500 men, was loaded on the President Grant 
as she lay at her pier. The vessel formerly was of the 
Hamburg- American Steamship Company fleet. She had 
been taken over by the United States at the opening of the 
war. All her fittings as an ocean liner had been torn out 
and she had been re-partitioned and equipped as a trans- 
port for "capacity" service. That capacity was now 
strained to the limit ; the vessel was desperately crowded. 
The men were packed like sardines ; the officers had worse 
accommodation than enlisted men on other vessels. An 
oddity of the voyage was that the officers had to do look- 
out duty in the "crow's nest" although some of them, 
lifelong landsmen, were incapacitated by seasickness. Mills 
however did not suffer from this malady and took his turn 
aloft while the reserve naval officers paced the deck. 

The sun was going down behind the heights beyond the 
New Jersey shore as the Second Battalion filed on board. 
All the evening was taken up with getting the men into 
their quarters and some sort of order established. The 
ship stole out of the harbor in the darkness of eleven 
o'clock and joined her convoy ofE Sandy Hook. The 
voyage began fairly. For a day or so all went well. Then 
trouble began. The President Grant could not keep up 
with the other vessels of the flotilla. There was something 
the matter with her boilers. 

This is an affair which has never been publicly explained. 
It would appear that before the vessel was seized by the 
Government, she had been wilfully damaged by her Ger- 
man crew. She must have been carelessly inspected when 
put into active service for carrying troops. Whatever the 
reasons, she could develop no speed. She was first an 
impediment and then a danger to the convoy. 

As to the conditions on board and Mills's experiences, 



226 One Who Gave His Life 

they are fully described in the only letter which he wrote 
home while he was on board : 

On Board U. S. S. S. 



Somewhere on the Atlantic, 

Sunday, Oct. 21, 191 7. 

Dearest Mother: — I thought when I came on board that 
I would write you a sort of continued-in-our-next epistle from 
day to day, but somehow there has been no time for anything. 
The very fact of having several thousand men on board who 
have never even seen a big ship before, all crowded together, 
would be job enough even if you did not have to concern 
yourself with their future safety — and your own. There has 
been something to occupy every minute of the time in order 
to take care of the safety consideration. Teaching the men 
how to find their way from the crowded holds to the lifeboats 
and rafts to which they have been assigned is an undertaking 
of the hardest sort. The below deck passageways form a 
veritable labyrinth, and unless the men are taught just which 
corners to turn there is sure to be a jam when the alarm is 
sounded — and when it is sounded in real earnest, if it ever is, 
great loss of life. Consequently, the alarm gong sounds so 
frequently that you haven't time to do much but obey it. 

The men are drilled and drilled and drilled in what they must 
do in case of emergency, the idea being to get them so they can 
do it in the dark — as they might be called upon to do — and 
get to their proper stations in prompt and orderly fashion 
without panic. A favorite stunt is to sound the alarm while 
we are at mess, and bring us tearing out, leaving our dessert 
and coffee. And, truth to tell, I have a notion they do it on 
purpose, for the food is so good you can hardly bear to leave it 
unless you are literally hauled away from the table by the nape 
of your neck. 

You are so interested in the food question that I know you 
will love to have a sample menu : 

For breakfast we have something like this : Fruit (grapefruit 
usually); cereal (oatmeal, cornflakes or cream of wheat); 



Safety First 227 

omelette and bacon; bread and muffins, with real butter of 
the finest sort, and coffee. 

For lunch: Cold meat loaf or sliced meat; salad (lettuce or 
some other green stuff) ; dessert (two or three kinds of cake and 
canned pears, for instance) and coffee. 

For dinner: Soup; roast chicken or beef; two vegetables; 
salad ; dessert (pie or ice cream) ; cheese and crackers and coffee. 

All the food comes right up to the traditional high mark set 
for steamships, and the coffee surpasses even that. It is the best 
I ever drank, and I consume endless cups of it. I tried to find 
out for you just what sort of coffee it is, but the best I could do 
was to learn that it was the regular navy issue, and made by 
the percolator process in big French restaurant urns. 

The men fare as well as we do, their mainstay of diet being 
the traditional army-navy bean which I had thought to be a 
lost delicacy because it was too expensive for our table at 
Plattsburg. Nothing is too good for us here, and that suits us 
toaT. 

Altogether, we have been mighty lucky thus far, for the 
weather has been as mild almost as summer, and the sea, with 
the exception of yesterday, as smooth as a hardwood floor. The 
calm has been a double blessing, for not only has it relieved 
the men from much suffering in the way of seasickness, but it 
has enabled them to become famihar with the "abandon-ship" 
drill. Had they been sick in large numbers — as they are likely 
to be yet — it would have been impossible to instruct them in 
this most essential business. We count on continuing to be 
lucky, for we had target practice to-day, and the very first 
shot fired was a dead hit that would have ripped the entrails 
out of friend U-boat had it been there. You ought to have 
heard the cheer that went up when the shot raised a spume 
many feet high right at the sham periscope that was being 
trailed by another one of the vessels in the convoy. 

We carry four 5 -inch guns, and they certainly are fine 
shooting irons. I like to hear their sharp concussion and the 
boring noise that the projectiles make as they streak through 
the air toward their mark. As to the size of the convoy, I can 
say nothing except that there are enough of us to keep any- 



228 One Who Gave His Life 

body from getting lonesome, and that there are sufficient 
warships to keep anyone from feeling any apprehension about 
submarines. As to what ship I am on I can say nothing more 
definite than that there is a whole lot of satisfaction in going 
over in a vessel built in a German shipyard and formerly 
owned and operated by a German company. 

I am writing this letter on the chance that it may be given to 
a passing vessel for early transportation back home. Therefore 
it may reach you before I get over ; if not it will be delivered 
with others which I will mail at once on reaching the other 
side. 

With much love for Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

The danger reached its climax on Monday the 22d. 
The convoy had made only 880 miles as the other vessels 
constantly slowed down to enable the President Grant to 
keep up with them. It was hoped that her injuries could 
be repaired by her engineers. But, instead, the conditions 
became worse and worse; she lost instead of gaining speed. 
The zone of submarine operations would soon be reached 
and then speed would be the vital factor of safety. There 
was only one thing to do; the President Grant must turn 
back and allow the other vessels to pursue their way. 
One evening, Mills and his comrades going on deck after 
dinner found the moon shining on the wrong side of the 
ship ; they were on their way back to New York. They 
dropped anchor in the Bay on the 27th ; it had taken them 
five days to return over the distance that they had made in 
three going out ! To complete the story of the President 
Grant, she was sent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for repairs, 
was laid up for several weeks, then resumed navigation as a 
transport and served until the close of the war. 

Of the 1 68th, the First and Third battalions were sent 
back to Camp Mills. The Second under Major Claude 
M. Stanley landed on Governor's Island and was cantoned 



Last Days at Home 229 

there for nearly a month before its final departure for 
Europe. Mills made many visits to the city and spent 
many pleasant hours with his fiancee, his family and his 
friends. Many of the latter visited him in his quarters. 
It was a period, on the whole, of tranquil enjoyment, 
strangely tinged with uneasiness and uncertainty. 



CHAPTER VIII 

A Cheerful Voyage toward the Unknown — Soul of an American 
Crusader — Wartime Types on an Atlantic Liner — In a British 
Rest Camp. 

Mills saw his parents, his fiancee and some of his 
nearest friends for the last time on November 22, 191 7. 
He spent the evening at his parents' home on Washington 
Heights, New York. The next day, the 23d, his battaHon 
and the machine gun company of the i68th sailed for 
Europe on the steamship Baltic of the White Star line. 
Before leaving Governor's Island he wrote a short letter 
to his mother, in which he said: 

That bed roll of mine will be like Santa's pack or Swiss 
Family Robinson's ship. I'll get everything out of it from 
cigarettes to cook stoves. I haven't any idea what all is in it. 

My friend whom I was to chase out of camp is sticking right 
along with me to-day, so maybe we are to have a new mascot 
in the place of the little dog that started over with us before on 
the Grant. Maybe the little fellow was the jinx. 

Got a good night's sleep, and am feeling fine. Do not 
worry about Mr. Vierick's Fatherland, for it has been sup- 
pressed, and we will not get even a glimpse of it. I mean just 
that, literally: We will not see it. So don't worry. Lots of 
love for Dad, yourself and the cats. 

He wrote a second note on the same evening, apparently 
after he went on board the ship : 

Dear Mother: — I forgot to thank you last night for the 
sweater and wristlets, but you know I appreciate them. 

230 



Safe on the Other Side 231 

How many wristlets you made! They will comfort lots of 
fellows. 

"My friend," the dog, was separated from us by a harsh 
order forbidding mascots, but we have a monkey who wears a 
gray sweater, and is as sleek as Sweet, to entertain us. 

I certainly am comfortably fixed. Hope you and Dad con- 
tinue well, and that you will both be sensible and refrain from 
worrying about me — I assure you there is no occasion for 
worry. 

Much love. QuiNCY. 

At the same time he wrote another note which was 
addressed to his parents but was placed in charge of the 
War Department to be forwarded to them as soon as the 
Baltic's safe arrival was cabled over. This was the 
regular practice in order to give the earliest news to 
relatives without putting into circulation any dangerous 
information as to the movement of troops. Mills's note 
read thus : 

On Board S. S. Baltic, November 23, 191 7. 

Dear Mother: — This line will let you know that we 
have arrived safely somewhere on the other side. 

You will be overjoyed to learn, I know, that we are on 
a ship this time which is manned by experienced salts. 
Even the cabin boys are hardened sailors — to let them tell 
it. This ship is far superior in accommodations to the 
Grant, and I am sure that the voyage W\\\ be as comfort- 
able as well as safe as possible. Much love. Quincy. 

The voyage was over, of course, when the note was 
delivered, but the word as to its comfort enhanced the 
pleasure caused by its safe ending. 

Quincy Sharpe Mills was now thirty -four years old, less 
two months. His character was mature ; his performance 
was considerable ; his promise very large. His nature was a 



232 One Who Gave His Life 

singular and happy compound of serious aim and view 
with gayety and enjoyment of Hfe. He was so much of a 
materiaHst as wisely to extract from the passing days, from 
various experiences, all the pleasure that they could be 
made afford; but the very enterprise upon which he was 
launched demonstrated how much his spirituality domi- 
nated all earthy values and impulses in his soul. When 
truth, honor, manhood, patriotism, were in the balance, no 
consideration of personal safety, no selfish interest, not 
even the feelings of those whom he held dearer than him- 
self, could shake his resolution or turn him from his chosen 
path of duty. 

Mills had no expectation of returning from the war 
alive. He seems to have had a premonition of his end. 
He told his father not to expect his return. He spoke 
to friends in the office of The Evening Sun of his fate as a 
matter of very great probability. The accounts of his 
talk given by his comrades in the i68th all bear out this 
view. He constantly expected death. He was almost 
surprised when after each action he came out unharmed. 
His intimates marvelled and made something of a jest of 
his expectancy — in war, even death becomes a semi- 
humorous phenomenon. 

But he was never afraid, nor reluctant, nor hesitant 
in any way; nor did he desire death, nor did he become 
in any sense morbid on the subject. His cheerfulness was 
remarkable. He was always either placid or in high 
spirits. The shadow which he felt in no way darkened his 
days. The fatalistic attitude which he spoke of in the 
letter from Camp Mills, quoted in the preceding chapter, 
perhaps, explains best his state of mind. 

In stature he was of medium height or slightly below 
it, slenderly built, but with well-hardened muscles and 
healthy organs which gave him activity and high en- 
durance. His face was oval with well-marked features. 



An Ideal Champion 233 

His eyes had an unusually luminous quality which al- 
ways gave character and interest to his expression; in 
mirth, they lit up with an irresistibly infectious sparkle. 
As a civilian, he wore his hair rather longer than is usual 
among young New Yorkers; it had a natural wave and 
contributed to give him a somewhat poetic or artistic guise. 
When he donned the army uniform he had it trimmed 
short and wore it in the so-called "Pompadour" fashion, 
brushed straight up from his forehead. The new style 
suited him wonderfully well. It imparted a peculiarly 
alert and clean-cut aspect, always mellowed and animated 
by the slumbering fire in his eyes. He was as fine a sample 
of young manhood, as handsome a champion of light as 
even romance could consecrate to an ideal. 

The mind and spirit within were worthy of the con- 
taining form. He has been shown as a lifelong student of 
principles and contender for high things — for political 
purity in peace and patriotic devotion in war. In his 
inward self he was a lover of poetry, a seeker for 
philosophic truth, a devotee of music. He was saturated 
with family affection; he had the qualities of an ardent 
lover; he was a sincere friend; he was an aggressive foe 
but only on the merits of an issue joined ; he was an enter- 
taining companion; as a worker, he was untiring and 
effective. His wide range of interests, his quick mind and 
ready gift of words made his conversation uncommonly 
agreeable. He was fond of little children and easily made 
friends with them. He was an intense admirer of nature 
in all its aspects and he had a natural sympathy with the 
lower animals; his quaint addiction to cats has already 
been revealed. He often had a pocketful of sugar to give 
to horses in the street. 

He had strong will power and much command over his 
own inclinations. Though not a total abstainer on prin- 
ciple, he gave up the use of liquor for long periods. He did 



234 One Who Gave His Life 

that much more difficult thing of using it occasionally while 
generally refraining. It has been seen how he gave up 
smoking for a period as a health measure. In early life he 
was so fond of cards that his mother and grandmother 
feared a gambling instinct, but no such thing ever 
developed. The attraction to him was in the mental 
exercise and this presently drew him to chess playing, in 
which he acquired fair skill. 

For his years and considering the time and effort he had 
given to an arduous calling, he had done a large amount of 
reading and study. Browning was his favorite poet, but 
he also reveled in the works of Kipling, Wordsworth, 
Keats and Byron. In college, he wrote a critical and 
biographical essay on Poe. Of the very modern verse 
makers, Masefield was his favorite. His copy of Brown- 
ing is extensively marked ; Childe Roland to the Dark Tower 
Came was his favorite poem, but Evelyn Hope with its 
suggestion of a long future of effort and reward also 
appealed to his temperament. One line of The Pope is 
specially underscored in his much scored copy : 

And makes the stumbling block the stepping stone. 

In the margin, Mills has written: "Almost the whole 
philosophy of Browning summed up in this line." It was 
largely Mills's own philosophy too. 

Among the early prose works that influenced him, 
Wundt's Principles oj Morality has been mentioned. One 
passage, on page 210 of his edition, is doubly marked for 
reference. It has a bearing on his fate, so marked that it 
must be quoted in part as giving a clue to his state 
of mind : 

There is but one civic duty that possesses in the highest 
degree the property of arousing, by the kind of activity it 
requires, sentiments of self-sacrifice that are strong enough 
to restrain the opposite inclinations. . . . This is the duty 



The Great End 235 

of military service for one's country, and it involves one of the 
greatest of political rights, that of protecting the State and of 
using force as a necessary means to this end, a means forbidden 
to the peaceful citizen. 

Plato's Republic influenced his political ideals in a 
marked degree and Victor Hugo's Intellectual Auto- 
biography colored all his thought. The dictum ' ' Man has 
need of dreams," underscored in his copy, is suggestive of 
his own internal consciousness. Again this line, "In the 
end, the tomb is always in the right," fits in with the mood 
in which he went to France, as again does this vital query : 
"What is death for man? Is it truly the end of some- 
thing? Is it the end of all?" Also this word of hope: 
' ' At death man ends, the soul begins ! " Of such questions 
and such hopes was Mills's soul compounded. In the 
last two years or so of his life he fell under the spell of 
Montaigne, who became his constant intellectual compan- 
ion. He dipped into the essays every night at bedtime as 
other men might into the Bible. Here again the dis- 
cussion of death and the great mystery fascinated him, as 
in Chapter XVIII, the story of Croesus and his theory of 
happiness and in XIX the quotations from Cicero: "To 
study philosophy is nothing but to prepare ourselves to 
die," and "All the wisdom and reasoning in the world do in 
the end conclude in this point, to teach us not to fear to die." 

Mills took but three books to France with him, Mon- 
taigne, the Rubaiyat and Kipling's poems. When his 
trunks were returned, they contained also a copy of 
Marcus Aurelius, which he must have bought over there. 
He wrote home in April or May, 191 8, asking his mother 
to make a copy of Childe Roland for him. She had a 
typewritten one made and sent it to him. 

Of Mills's own thoughts on life and death there is slight 
record outside his letters. In his diary for 191 1, on Janu- 



236 One Who Gave His Life 

ary 2, after seeing the play, Old Heidleherg, he wrote: 
"The only one that has brought tears to my eyes. The 
effect was not due so much to the power of the play as to 
the vividness with which it illustrated the transitory 
nature of things in life." Besides the diaries, there is a 
rough notebook with pages of books to be read, topics for 
articles, words and things to look up, quotations of strong 
suggestion and the like. It contains some apothegms 
apparently his own. The very first is light: "Why 
should I not steal a kiss? (playful note);" but this is 
grave enough : ' ' Do not ask for genius but for power and 
strength to work hard — to bear the brunt and smile." 

He was not addicted to the ordinary curiosities regard- 
ing things mechanical; he rather took them for granted. 
An entry in his diary, however, made October 29, 19 10, 
shows a lively interest in aviation. It reads: "Saw 
aeroplanes in flight at Belmont Park ; my first look at them 
and I want to try it. There is something that grips you in 
the roar of the engines overhead." It would seem the call 
was to his imagination rather than to any material instinct. 
In all the spiritual and temperamental phases of life, 
however, his visions and desires were warm and vivid. 
These were crowned with the hope of love and domesticity, 
to which allusion has already been made, but which is too 
delicate a matter for more than indication here as a 
supreme factor in that sacrifice which was his departure 
for the unknown, the fatal, the humanly final, with his 
regiment on the Baltic. 

From the first he made a strong impression of ability 
and will power upon his brother officers of all ranks. This 
was soon supplemented by cordial liking and in several 
cases by close friendship. His spirit of fair play was 
recognized ; his entertaining talk and wide fund of infor- 
mation caused his companionship to be sought. "He was a 
good man to be with when we struck a new place," said 



War Letters 237 

one of them later; "he always knew something interesting 
about it . " His cheerfulness was inspiring to his comrades 
and his men. Only the imperfect equipment of the troops 
in the early part of the campaign caused him any anxiety. 
This he viewed with a critical bitterness which was as 
much editorial as military. Altogether, he was successful 
as an army officer — active, vigilant, strict, well informed 
and well drilled, obedient and enforcing obedience, con- 
siderate, genial. He was popular as well as efficient — 
rather because he was efficient. 

The second voyage, the real journey to Europe and the 
battle area, was far different from the first. The Baltic 
was a passenger ship and the private soldiers of Mills's 
battalion, as he wrote to a friend, enjoyed better quarters 
on her than the officers had had on the President Grant. 
But at this point he begins to tell his own story in his 
own way. 

The remainder of this book will consist principally of 
narrative of his experiences and observations in the 
campaign of 19 17-18. It is found in the series of letters 
which he wrote to his father and mother dowTi to the eve of 
his death. Writing them seems to have been his princi- 
pal recreation. They exhibit his remarkable gift for 
journalism, indeed for literature — he would have been a 
star as a war correspondent. One novel quality they have 
in particular: they give the personal side of the soldier's 
life, the phase the makers of books generally miss. Un- 
consciously, they are a wonderful tribute to the courage 
and moral tone of the American troops, including their 
portrayer himself. It must be generally understood that 
these letters were full of personal mention. All sorts of 
intimate things were discussed, intensely interesting to 
him, his family and his immediate circle, and showing that 
his heart was always at home, always with those he loved 



238 One Who Gave His Life 

and liked, and that his appreciation of any kindness was as 
keen and simple as a child's. These have been omitted 
for reasons that every reader will easily conceive. Some 
bitter comments there were also on acquaintances who did 
not live up to his ideal of them or of their duty. These, 
too, have generally been expunged, though one or two are 
left in order that his state of mind may be made clear. 
In these latter cases, the identity of the objects of his cen- 
sure is suppressed. 

With the exceptions thus noted, the letters are given 
exactly as he wrote them; the editing of them has been 
confined to rare verbal corrections such as he would have 
made himself had there been leisure to read them be- 
fore mailing. In accordance with the War Department 
regulations, no indication was given in any of the exact 
place from which it was sent. The two which follow 
were written at sea, on the way over. Names of places 
which Mills was obliged to leave blank in these as well as 
in following letters have been supplied in brackets. The 
first letter was not dated; some opportunity, apparently, 
was found to send it home, en route. The second was 
mailed immediately upon the arrival of the Baltic in port 
on the other side : 

Dear Mother : — I hope that by this time your appre- 
hensions regarding the present stage of my military 
experience may have been entirely relieved. You see, you 
had your wish about the manner of my going over. This 
is a larger ship than the [President Grant] and is a very 
steady sailer. She is really a palace in comparison with 
the preceding sardine box ship into which we were packed. 
Even the private soldiers have staterooms — unpretentious 
quarters but comfortable — and there is plenty of deck- 
room. Best of all, there is plenty of light at night in 
staterooms, smoking rooms and all other parts of the ship 



To Keep Close Touch 239 

where the illumination can be concealed, so our evenings 
are not useless and intolerable. Which only goes to prove 
my contention all along that equal safety could have been 
secured on the [President Grant] without plunging her into 
Cimmerian darkness at sunset. 

The food is excellent, even better than the [President 
Grant 's] and there is plenty of it. Thus far, moreover, it 
has proved of real benefit to the eaters, for the sea is so 
calm that no one has yet suffered from seasickness. We 
have been more than fortunate in the weather we have 
drawn. That is remarkable, for bad weather is to be 
expected at this season. 

This letter is being written in sections. This pencil part 
begins at noon of the first day out. I will write as much 
as possible before to-morrow so that if the opportunity 
comes then to send letters back I may give you quite a fat 
one. I am in hopes that if I turn it over unsealed for 
censorship it may be forwarded at once without waiting 
for the arrival of the ship on the other side. 

In regard to letters : You should number each letter you 
mail me as I have numbered this one at the top of the 
first page. Number your letters consecutively for each 
month, and then start over again, and I will do the same. 
In this manner we will be able to tell whether all of our 
letters arrive. Some will be bound to miss, owing to mis- 
haps to the ships they are on, or to confusion in the han- 
dling of the mails. 

I will not hear from you for some weeks, I know, but 
when our mail ship comes in I hope to be swamped with 
letters. It will be better for you to mail three letters a 
week, so that though one or two miss one may come 
through, and I will keep the chain going in your direction 
in the same way. 

Here's the chance to mail this, so I must stop. 

Much love to Dad and yourself, QuiNCY. 



240 One Who Gave His Life 

On Board S. S. [Baltic], 

November 26, 191 7- 

Dear Mother : Well ! Well ! So here I am, headed out 
through a driving snowstorm over a no man's sea, cleared 
from a port of nowhere and bound for a port of nowhere — 
so far as you may know. 

The whole adventure makes me think of one of Dun- 
sany's weird little stories in which he talks, in his mystic 
way, of the City of Nowhere in the Land of Never Was. 
I hope that we may have the great pleasure of being 
blessed together with seeing other plays from his gifted 
pen even more masterly than The Queen's Enemies and 
The Gods of the Mountain — that we may see them together 
in the great City of Somewhere at the mouth of the 
Hudson which looms up through the mist of my dreams to 
the stern of us, as strange and magical as any dream pile 
built by Dunsany's Irish pen that is truly great in that 
it is not Irish but elemental. 

I fell to thinking when we started forth to-day on our 
real journey across the Atlantic of how strange it was that 
I should be entering on this new phase of my life through a 
snowstorm ; you have told me that it was in a time of snow- 
storm that I was bom. There are strange coincidences in 
life which are no doubt but accidents, but are, nevertheless, 
more than interesting to the mind which is curious about 
that part of our existence here that is more than physical. 
And this sailing into an unknown sea to an unapproximable 
future is in itself a new birth from a life in a metropolitan 
office. 

A very interesting ship's company I am associating with 
while aborning, too, from the old lady with the gray hair 
who smokes endless cigarettes from a meerschaum cigar- 
ette holder, to the diminutive "boots" in tightfit blue 
navy duds and brass buttons, both quite English, don- 
chano, and both quite severe about it. The old lady I 



Steamship Personalities 241 

picked out as soon as I came aboard as being the most 
interesting individual on the ship. She is a very Queen 
Elizabeth sort of person who looks as though she would 
certainly be able to blurt out her big, big D — on occasion. 
She wears rings on her fingers and maybe on her toes and 
she surely has diamonds wherever she goes. It is really 
quite a shock to see her settle herself in a corner of the 
writing room, and, after lighting up a cigarette and giving 
the assembled company a sort of eagle-eyed once-over as if 
she were looking for some head to chop off, produce her 
knitting from somewhere and apply herself to a pursuit 
really feminine. Who she is I don't know, but I'll find out 
later and write in her name. I think she must have 
escaped from either Bill Shakespeare or Bernard Shaw 
while they weren't looking and maybe I'll have to put her 
back into her proper place after the war's over. She's 
worth it, all right. 

Then there is the little Scotchman who is a dead ringer 
for Andy Carnegie, and the brave mother who is traveling 
all the way from China to England with four small children. 
Why she should be at sea at such a time as this I cannot 
comprehend, but I'll find that out, too, and tell you. 
Cyril Asquith is one of the passengers — there is quite a 
number of Canadian and English officers— being on his 
way home from Washington where he has been on some 
sort of official mission. He devotes himself assiduously 
to chess with several select cronies and maintains a proper 
distance from the ordinary herd. What struck me most 
forcibly at the start was the number of women and children 
aboard. After all I had heard about how women and chil- 
dren were excluded from trans-Atlantic travel this surprised 
me greatly. I '11 find out later why it is the case on this ship. 

Later — The mother of four children is the wife of an 
English missionary who has been devoting himself for 



242 One Who Gave His Life 

years to saving Chinese souls, but is now applying himself 
to a much more practical missionary work on Germans in 
France. She is going home principally because of the 
bad health of her oldest child, but I cannot understand 
why it would not have been better for her to get medical 
advice in the U. S. There is not a person aboard who is 
not personally connected with the war in some way. Most 
of the women are the wives of Canadian or British officers. 
One of them is a young woman going over to marry a 
Canadian major. Another, with whom I fell to talking, is 
a Southern woman from Louisville, Ky., whose husband is 
a Britisher and who is going over after some fifteen years 
in America to do his bit for his country. They have their 
baby with them. 

Then there is an English gentleman, an exporter of fine 
textiles, who is just finishing his looth trip across the 
Atlantic, He is taking a fatherly interest in me because 
he has two sons, both of whom are in service. Their 
father complains bitterly that he can't be with them 
because the doctors say he is "too damned old." The 
older boy, a lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, has been 
with the colors since 1915, and is to-day no worse for wear 
although he has had a handful of shrapnel scooped out of 
his anatomy by the doctors once or twice. The other boy, 
just 16, couldn't wait to grow up to military age so he just 
entered the naval service voluntarily. The father has 
given me much valuable advice about trench boots, flannel 
underwear, etc., and has promised me his son's prescription 
for keeping vermin as near subjection as may be. "You 
can't keep 'em off," says Dad. "When the boy comes 
home on furlough he won't come into the house until he 
has bathed and disinfected out in the wood-shed." 

Then there is the little English officer who saw service 
as an aviator on the first day of the war, and who has been 
at the front a total of two years. He has been recently 



Torpedo Habit 243 

detailed to instruct our aviators in America, but is now 
bound back to do real flying again. "Keep your head 
down and do as you're told and your name will never 
appear in the casualty lists," he says. I was much dis- 
appointed to hear from him that the large losses at Vimy 
Ridge last summer were due to the same old irrepressible 
desire of the British territorials to overreach the mark and 
take more than the ground assigned to them. "When the 
barrage is properly put down," this long-lived Englishman 
says, "it is a pipe to take the trenches allotted to you. 
It's so easy you just want to keep right on walking through 
Hans and Fritz — but you don't try to do it but once. 
Get your men to realize that they must never go further 
than they are told if they want to go back to the States." 
Believe me, I had started that line of talk the day I hit the 
organization ; I am merely adding emphasis now. As for 
keeping my head down — my nose will be right down in 
the dirt when orders do not force me to carry it higher. 

There are lots of British soldiers still in action who have 
been in for the whole war. The chief petty officer tells me 
that his brother-in-law and his pal, field artillerymen, have 
come through it all practically unscathed, winning thereby 
the name of "the lucky beggars." 

As for the submarine menace, you really wouldn't know 
there was any from the stolid fashion the ship's crew go 
about their business. Being torpedoed has got to be a 
habit with them, from the captain, who was torpedoed on 
the Arabic, to the stewards. My mess steward has been 
torpedoed twice, on the Laurentic and the Nicosian, and 
my room steward was torpedoed on the Britannic in the 
Mediterranean. And I'll venture that it never occurred 
to any of them to quit seafaring. They are woodenly 
indifferent, being torpedoed is just like serving the soup 
with them. They torpedo their H's ruthlessly and without 
warning. Henglish as she is spoke is a frightfulness sure 



244 One Who Gave His Life 

enough. I sometimes wonder what it is all about. And 
I'm afraid I'll brain my bathroom steward yet some day 
when he appears in the doorway and informs me that 
"Your bawth is ready, leftenant, sir." The cats, even, 
are English in their general aloofness. Ginger, the 
tortoiseshell tabby who rides first cabin, permits no 
liberties from anyone, and you might think tiger Jack a 
duke from his bearing although he is booked permanently 
in the second cabin. Both were born aboardship, and 
their offspring are all seafarers on other vessels. 

Speaking of young Asquith, to whom I referred in an 
earlier chapter, he bears a remarkable resemblance to the 
pictures of his father. He is not over tall, suggests frail- 
ness by general appearance: attenuated fingers and face, 
the latter almost wan in its pallor, and a habit of wearing 
a big coat of much the same build as my sheep-skin jacket 
at all times, even when he is sitting here in the writing- 
smoking room playing chess or reading. 

Here, in this continuous dissertation on life and things 
aboard ship, I will weave a Thanksgiving carol. Take my 
word for it, this bunch, after its previous experience afloat, 
is thankful for pretty much everything in sight. They all 
agree they are enjoying soldiering de luxe. Anybody in 
the ranks who started complaining about anything would 
be thrown overboard by his fellows. They had turkey 
and cranberries, potatoes, peas and plum pudding for 
noon mess. In all 2200 lbs. of the American bird were 
served for the soldiers on this ship alone. Our big dinner 
came at night and the menu set before us was as follows: 

Blue Points on the half shell ; Consomme Florida, Potage 
St. Louis; Salmon Trout California; Mutton Cutlets 
America; Prime Ribs and Sirloin of Beef, New England 
Pudding; Roast Turkey, Cranberry Jelly; Wax Beans, 
Browned Potatoes, Plain Boiled Rice; Salad, Boston 



Thanksgiving Day 245 

beans with Mayonnaise dressing and lettuce; New 
Hampshire Pudding, Congress Tartlets; Fruits, Nuts; 
Coffee, New Orleans. 

This bill was in no wise better than our regular fare, 
however. We are certainly living high. Sometimes we 
meet old acquaintances under strange disguises between 
the soup and the demi-tasse, however. For instance, there 
was the "Royal Sea Pie" we ordered today, be- 
ing inveigled into selecting it by the high-sounding 
name. 

"Hell!" said Lt. Kelly (he who was arrested five times 
in one day in Tokio) when our portions were set before us, 
"I was aboard a transport in the middle of the Pacific 
bound for the Philippines nineteen years ago this Thanks- 
giving Day and we had 'Royal Sea Pie' every meal — only 
we called it, 'slumgullion. ' " 

You would have recognized the dish as plain Irish stew. 
So are the lowly exalted on shipboard — and it was good 
stew, too. 

Here's how I spent my Thanksgiving Day, the routine 
being practically the same as that for every day, except 
that ordinarily we have an hour's officer's school instead of 
church at 3 P.M.: Up at 7 45 for my ' ' bawth ' ' in sea water, 
comfortably heated ; 8 o'clock, breakfast ; 9-10, getting the 
men's quarters cleaned up; 10-10:30, setting up exercises; 
10:30-12:30, visiting and talking with the men below 
decks; i o'clock, lunch; 2 :30, boat drill; 3 o'clock. Thanks- 
giving service, held by an Episcopal minister from the first 
cabin; 4-6, cards and chess; 6-7, cleaning up for dinner; 7, 
dinner; 8-10:30, writing or playing cards. Every little 
while throughout this program we pause for an extra bite 
to eat. They serve clam broth on the sun deck every so 
often, and at 5 p.m. "tay" is served here in the library. 
Right after dinner you get a demi-tasse here with your 



246 One Who Gave His Life 

cigar — smoking is prohibited in the dining saloon — and I 
always get mine here because the coffee is better than that 
downstairs. And along about 10 p.m. the steward passes 
around sandwiches. 

I haven't been seasick yet, although the sea has been a 
bit rough more than once, but I've come pretty near to 
eating myself sick several times. My fellow officers won- 
der "what the devil I find to write so much about" — but 
it's all in the point of view. There is more than I can 
write about. But I mustn't omit the incident of the 
Sam Browne belts. You remember these lowans decried 
the Sam Browne belts in much the same fashion as 
"Cyclone" Davis decried the linen collar on first hitting 
Washington. But just as Jeff submitted to being properly 
collared before retiring to the wilds of Texas so the lowans 
have submitted to being properly harnessed in Sam 
Browne belts. More than that, they actually jumped into 
the harness on the first excuse, and some of those who had 
held the Sam Browne in the deepest contempt were the 
first and eagerest jumpers. You see it's this way: The 
belt is required for all officers of the Allied Armies so that 
the soldiers of all nations may be able to recognize officers 
of other nations and show them the proper military 
courtesies. I had supposed that the belt was merely an 
adornment, but it is a necessity, as has been proven by 
experience, to prevent confusion within the Allies' complex 
military machine. 

Personally, I think that the added "set up" which the 
belt gives to the American officer would justify its use if 
there was no real necessity for it. In the same manner, I 
think it is short-sighted policy that the American private 
soldier's uniform is not so well made and of such good 
material as to inspire him with pride in his personal 
appearance, as the Canadian uniform does the men who 
wear it. The American uniform is too much like a suit of 



Women in the War 247 

overalls, and naturally it is treated as overalls will always 
be treated. This is not right. 

To get off on another tack again, here is what my Eng- 
lish friend had to say to me today, he whose son is a 
lieutenant in the Royal Engineers: "When you get to 
England you will find the people who are really mad about 
this war. They are the English women. They are actu- 
ally doing the work of the nation ; it couldn't keep the war 
going without them. Those women are working because 
their husbands and sons and sweethearts are in the 
trenches and need their support. And you deprive a 
bunch of women of their sweethearts and they are like a 
bunch of mad cats — they want to scratch every body in 
sight. Wait until your American women really know what 
it means to be so deprived and you will find out what sort 
of stuff they are really made of. This war is making out 
of our women what suffrage could never make out of them : 
real thinking citizens who realize how vital is their interest 
in their government." This from a man engaged in 
running an international business is interesting. The 
women will prove themselves worthy of their rights in 
spite of the Jearmette Rankins. 

I spoke of spending time talking with the men, and in 
relation to this I know you will be interested to hear more 
of the big sergeant, Phil. Koester, whose appearance you 
liked so much. Incidentally, I was glad he was assigned 
to my lifeboat for obvious reasons. Koester tells me that 
his parents were bom in Germany and that his father is as 
pro-German in sympathy as most of them. His service 
in the U. S. Army is a great blow to his father, he says, as 
five of his (the sergeant's) uncles and many cousins are in 
the German service. There is nothing wrong about the 
son's mental processes, though. He is straight American 
in his utterances and I am sure that he is sincere. I have 
a lot of fun out of another German-American sergeant in 



248 One Who Gave His Life 

our company named Maus ; the Teutonic pronunciation of 
which is mouse. It is too funny for anything that this 
man should be not only small and suggestive in appearance 
of Krazy Kat's arch enemy in the Evening Journal, but is 
equally as belligerent as that terror of the electrotypes. I 
call him "Sergeant Ignatz" sometimes but he doesn't 
catch on, of course. Had he gone to a New York public 
school Ignatz would have been the only name he would 
ever have heard. Like Koester, he is a good soldier. 

Since starting on our voyage we have had a little bit of 
every sort of weather in King Winter's pack, from mild 
moonlight and smooth sea to what the sailor folk term 
tonight '"arf a gale" — which a large percentage of the 
landlubbers aboard view as more nearly approximating a 
gale and a 'arf — right off the ice, with waves smashing 
over the bow and spray flying the whole length of the boat. 
Every time the old girl sticks her nose down into the 
Atlantic she pauses perceptibly, then shivers all through as 
if she were blowing the water out of her nostrils, and lunges 
forward again. It is a motion not without a certain 
inspiration — unless it makes you seasick by constant and 
persistent repetition. Personally, I hope that the wind 
will blow harder and harder on each successive day until 
we reach port, for the harder the wind the rougher the 
sea and the less the chance for some dear little U-boat to 
tickle our ribs. The ideal trip would be one on which we 
saw a U-boat blown out of the water 'fore it could get us. 
Next to that, the best thing is no periscope sighted at all. 
But if one is sighted we apprehend no danger; our convoy 
is sufficient. 

We had a talk today from Col. S. Wishart, who has been 
training English officers and who suggested several things 
for American officers to note particularly. Col. Wishart 
has organized two artillery brigades, but because he is 
60 he was not allowed to go to the front. He would pass 



A French Fire Eater 249 

for 50, and he is so mad about being kept out of active 
service that I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear of his 
busting right through Von Hindenburg's line single-handed 
and capturing both the Kaiser and Berlin before tiffin 
some fine day. 

To return to the subject of the ship's cats, you certainly 
would have laughed the first day we sailed into the sub- 
marine zone when Ginger walked into the dining saloon 
equipped, as everybody else was, with a cork jacket. One 
of the stewardesses had made it for her, and while the cat 
kept her ears laid back all the time, denoting acute dis- 
pleasure, she wore the thing with wonderful composure. 
I would surely like to see Sweet so equipped. If he 
couldn't shake the life preserver off he'd just about dive 
over the rail to try it out. Ginger is a pretty slick article. 
She came limping in to dinner last night as if somebody 
had nearly mashed her foot off. Naturally everybody fed 
her up in sympathy — and after she'd got the last bite of 
chicken in sight she walked out of the place waving her 
tail over four as sound feet as you ever saw, and wearing 
on her countenance an expression suggesting close kinship 
between herself and the cat that ate the canary. "Bless 
you ! " said one of the stewards to me : "We think as much 
of that cat as we do of one of ourselves." She is about 
5 years old and Sweet's general build. 

This continues to grow words day by day, this rambling 
epistle of mine. Now I must tell 3^ou about a little French- 
man, a sergeant-major in our service. His name is Alfred 
Gay, and his father, a French general, was killed, he says 
at Verdun. He has lost several brothers and other 
relations, all colonels and majors, and was wounded five 
times himself, being retired three times on account of 
woimds. And it's three times and out in the French serv- 
ice, so he came to America and took a non-commissioned 
officer's job although he was a captain when he was 



250 One Who Gave His Life 

relieved from further service for his country. Listen to 
what he says : " Ze fighting, zat ees not ze hard sing. Oh ! 
no. Eet ees ze living in ze dugout and ze ditch in ze rain 
and ze mud and ze snow, and ze bugs — and eespec-i-allee 
ze bugs. Ze real fighting ees not wis ze Gairmans but wis 
ze bugs. Every morning you fight heem. You take off 
your shirt and you fight heem. And who ees ze greatest 
soldair? Ze greatest soldair ees he who keels ze most 
bugs. Hah!" 

You see this Frenchman is just as gay as his name. But 
he is more or less of a crape-hanger for those superior 
American officers who started over with the idea that the 
captains and majors and colonels and generals escape, and 
that it's only the lieutenants who get shot up. Here's 
Gay, who started in as a lieutenant the first day of the war 
and is still as gay as ever, while his relatives of higher rank 
have many of them taken the count. He is as fine looking 
a specimen of humanity as you ever saw, even if he has a 
bullet of some sort packed away somew^here in one of the 
cartilages of his heart. He is a physician of real skill, and 
speaks about every language on the list. Because he is 
not an American citizen he cannot hold a commission in 
our army, but I have a notion that some means of making 
real use of his talents instead of wasting them on a non- 
com's position will be found. 

It is something of a coincidence again, that I am finish- 
ing this letter on your birthday, Dec. 6. I mailed you 
another en route, which I hope has reached you already, 
and I have also filed a cablegram which should satisfy you 
that my voyage was all that could be desired. I will write 
as often as I can, be sure of that, and you do the same — 
and don't worry. 

With much love for Dad and yourself and the rest of the 
family, 

QUINCY. 



How Small the World Is 251 

The Baltic entered the Mersey and steamed up to 
Liverpool on December 7. She lay in the stream until 
high tide and docked on the 8th. The voyage had been 
uneventful. Not even the fin of a U-boat was seen. The 
next letter Mills had doubtless begun to write while the 
vessel was in the stream, but apparently he concluded 
it after landing : 

Where? [Probably Winchester] 

December 7, 1917- 

Dear Mother: Just when this will be mailed I do not 
know, but it will be in the nature of a Merry Christmas- 
Happy New Year letter, and I hope it may reach you 
during if not on the eve of the holiday season. You know 
that while I may be absent from you folks in the body I 
will be with you in spirit on these, the home days of all the 
year. 

Landing here on this shore of the Atlantic, I can only say 
that I had never before realized how small the world is. 
When there are ties to your heartstrings on the other side 
of the ocean, time and distance assume aspects totally 
different. It is, after all, only a thought's distance around 
the earth. The thing that always made it seem so far 
before was that there was no one here to think about. I 
know by experience that this is unassailable truth ; and I 
have no doubt that you have made the same discovery. 

I sincerely trust that the means of actual physical 
communication will be as good as my friend Mr. D. says 
that they are for the English troops. He says that mail 
for the British troops is delivered promptly even if the 
men are in the first line trenches. His son has found this 
to be the easiest way to get clean socks and handkerchiefs, 
while in the first line. W^hen he goes in, he mails a card 
notifying his mother to send him packages on certain days. 
Two days after a package leaves London, the boy gets it, 



252 One Who Gave His Life 

puts on his clean socks and fights Fritz in as sanitary fash- 
ion as possible. 

Mr, D. has certainly been kind to me. He has offered 
to keep for me any excess stuff I may have on going into 
active service for the first period. Personal property left 
behind is frequently lost, his son has found. Therefore 
if I have anything I want taken care of at any time I will 
pack up a trunkf ul and send it to Mr. D.'s home. When- 
ever I want any of the articles he will send them to me one 
at a time. This gentleman has been so kind to me that 
I think it would be a graceful thing for you to write him a 
note thanking him for his attention. I have talked with him 
a lot, and have got a lot of first-hand information about 
the British representative system of government which 
strengthens me in the opinion I already held that it is 
both more responsive and more responsible than the 
American. 

Mr. D. and other Englishmen I talked with aboard were 
as much grieved at the big Hillquit vote [in the New 
York Mayoralty election] as I am. They all express the 
opinion that this result of the New York election is one of 
the most sinister social indications of recent times. I 
must admit that sometimes I feel that the world must be 
coming to an end. But unless history is going to change 
its whole course and run contrary in the twentieth century 
to everything that has happened — no matter how slow it 
has been in happening — since the record of history began, 
this war will turn out right in the end as will the social 
mess of which the Hillquit vote is only one of the mani- 
festations, and the world will continue to be not only 
habitable, but a little more so each year. Certes this is so ; 
however : If Hun and Socialist triumph they will pull the 
world down on top of themselves, even as Samson pulled 
down the temple of the profane gods of his day. 

Yes, I guess you'll have to write me down an optimist. 



Observations of a Censor 253 

Of course, there is particular reason for my optimism just 
at this time at the conclusion of a trip through the sub- 
marine zone so peaceful that it might have been on the 
Great Lakes, which are certainly submarine locked, 
in a period of dead calm. We did have a bit of "narsty " 
weather — as these blooming Henglish termed it — but I 
didn't suffer at all from mal-de-mer, and didn't mind. As 
several of the men expressed it in letters to their folks our 
ship did rock like a cradle that was being handled roughly, 
but the rough handling only rendered the cradle safer, so 
the more violent the rocking the better I liked it. 

I happen to know about the men's letters because I 
helped censor the batch that went off at the end of the 
voyage, and I guess I will know considerably more, as 
I am to be company censor when we get finally located. 
Pathetically elementary in many ways were the letters I 
read, but they came from the right kind of hearts, stout 
and strong and undismayed by the discomforts of troop 
travel, and the prospects of hardships more trying still to 
come. Few of the men are married, yet out of the batch 
of letters sent off at the port of debarkation an amazingly 
small proportion were to sweethearts. All the men wrote 
home. Their hearts were clearly there first. 

It is curious how hard it is for them to write without 
falling foul of the censor. The things that strike them are 
the most obvious things that would be of most value to the 
enemy if divulged, and when the ban is placed on the men- 
tion of these they feel that there is nothing left for them to 
say. The manner in which the censorship rules cramp 
them is clearly evident in their expression. I have 
remarked before to you how like great big children they 
are, and I am more than ever impressed by that quality 
in the adult human individual. On the ship I saw a great 
deal of the men, and I believe that I have made many fast 
friends among them. Perhaps I flatter myself, but I hope 



254 One Who Gave His Life 

not, for I have certainly become very fond of those of my 
company as a whole, and of many individually. 

Speaking of my optimism, it will be impossible for you to 
comprehend the total unconcern of everybody aboard our 
ship, not alone the crew who are used to the experience, 
regarding the U-boat. If it had not been for the life 
preservers which all of us had to keep with us all the time, 
you would not have supposed that any of us ever thought 
of danger. As we approached this side, the increased 
convoy increased our confidence, of course. There is 
nothing more reassuring than the sight of torpedo boat 
destroyers kicking up the water all around you. They are 
the most impudent little sea devils imaginable, regular 
little sauceboxes, with the fact that they are just spoiling 
for a U-boat scrap written all over them. 

How the Huns must hate our sea power you can under- 
stand after seeing these destroyers racing around with 
their bows in the air hunting for trouble, and mad because 
they don't find it. And after seeing them operate you 
understand why you see no subs ; it would be sure death to 
one to show a periscope. Could there only be enough 
destroyers to go 'round there would be no submarine peril 
for any ship. They remind you for all the world of a pack 
of rat terriers scouring about for a rat, and if they found 
him the shaking he got would be truly Frightful. 

You see, my baptism of torpedo fire which you worried 
over so was nothing of an ordeal at all. Now be sensible 
and do not worry because after some months of training 
there will be another baptism of fire. The English officers 
tell us that the conservation of life in battle is being made 
more of a science every day — as it has to be — and that 
when the casualties are heavy it is because the infantry 
fails to co-operate with the artillery. Too great daring, 
too overwhelming a desire to get at the Huns — these are 
the greatest enemies to overcome. "Do what you 're 



Wimbledon and Mom Hill 255 

told!" If troops can only get that beaten through their 
skulls they are pretty sure to retain those skulls for pro- 
tracted use against Kultur. But if they insist on ram- 
ming their skulls against the Hindenburg line that line is 
likely to resemble a stone wall indefinitely. That it is not 
a stone wall when properly attacked has been proved 
already. The jaunty destroyer using its brains to get the 
U-boat, and not trying to sink dreadnaughts by ramming 
them, is a pretty good example for the infantry man to 
follow. 

I am permitted to say that we landed in England, I am 
informed, but not to name the port. How long we shall 
be here I do not know but I hope it will be long enough to 
see something of London. Mr. D. has offered to show me 
and any friends I may want to bring along all of London 
that can be seen in whatever time we may have. He 
knows the city, as he has grown up in it. 

My love to you and Dad for Christmas. It should be 
the happiest you have ever spent because you have a son 
in the service I am in. You will hear from me again as 
soon as I have the opportunity to write. Quincy. 

The second Battalion and the machine gunners were 
sent into quarters at Wimbledon and Mom Hill rest 
camps. From this location. Mills wrote another long 
letter : 

Somewhere in England, 

December lo, 1917. 

Dear Mother : Although I sent you a letter on arriv- 
ing I will send you another now, for perhaps my oppor- 
tunities for writing may be less after moving on. And, 
besides, all the letters may not reach you. I know that 
there is no manner in which I can spend my time that will 
be as valuable in that the results will mean so much to you, 
and, furthermore, I thoroughly enjoy writing letters. My 



256 One Who Gave His Life 

incorrigibility with the pencil dumbfounds my associates. 
Most of them view writing a letter as an awesome task, 
and I really believe some of them think I must be out of 
my mind to be so devoted to it. As an excuse for not 
writing they urge that the censor won't pass the letters 
anyway. Which reminds me that in your answer I wish 
you would tell me whether my letters have been cut to any 
extent by the censor. I try to keep off anything that 
would give military information, and hope that I have 
succeeded in getting through unmutilated letters. 

My trip through England I have enjoyed greatly, but I 
fear that I will miss the part most to be desired, a sight of 
London. From the car window en route to a rest camp 
here I witnessed a panorama of tidiness. The country- 
side was a succession of fields bounded by endless hedges 
laid out "just so," and of towns and cities full of rows of 
two-storied houses separated by narrow streets, each as 
neat as a pin. Every little house and garden made me 
look close to see if the housewife were not somewhere 
about still at her daily task of brushing off every shingle 
and vegetable with a feather duster. 

I saw very little woodland and few untilled fields ; those 
untilled were being used for grazing. In the rural districts 
thatched roofs were frequent, and all the haymows were 
built up alike, precisely like rectangular houses with 
steeply slanting roofs and overhanging eaves. And I am 
not surprised at the amount of mutton that has been fed 
to me since my arrival, for there were sheep everywhere. 
Your friend of the sheep pictures — Is it Mauve or Millet ? 
— couldn't help finding a subject every time he turned 
'round on this island. And the entire landscape, as a 
whole, was like a giant Corot. 

I think the atmospheric conditions prevalent must 
produce the remarkable Corot effects. The bare brown 
branches of the trees assume a richness against the English 



Things English 257 

sky which I never noted in our country. It is remarkable. 
And I saw any number of brooks which might have been 
murmuring : ' * Men may come and men may go, but I go 
on forever." The Httle houses in the older towns you pass 
remind you of the Shakesperian stage settings you have 
seen — actually the real houses are little larger than the 
sham ones — and honestly it wouldn't surprise me to see 
some figure in doublet and hose come around any corner. 
All along the road were church buildings that looked old 
enough to have been relics of Saxon days, and every now 
and then we passed a crumbling stone bridge whereon it 
was easy to visualize men in suits of mail busy macing 
each other's heads off. 

You should have heard the men jeer the dinky little 
railway coaches when we landed — engines and coaches 
remind you of the pictures of the first American railway 
trains — but they remained aboard the coaches long enough 
to respect them. There is no denying that the English 
trains move more smoothly, with less jar from the wheels, 
and that they get there more promptly. Mr. D. told me 
that it is as unusual for an English railway train to be late 
as for an Americn railway train to be on time. I must 
give the English full credit, too, for the way they beat us at 
keeping the railway right of way clear of unsightly adver- 
tising signs, and all other eyesores. With rare exceptions, 
the residential and factory areas immediately adjacent to 
the tracks we passed over were as clean as the Sage 
Foundation colony at Forest Hills, and not unlike it in 
appearance. Contrast this with the usual filthiness of 
any American city's railroad district. 

While contrasting things English and American it is 
well enough to mention the girls. Our American girls 
"have it on" their English sisters as to pretty faces and 
figures, but the complexions of these English women are 
the most wonderful I have ever seen. The men have the 
17 



258 One Who Gave His Life 

same rosy cheeks. Maybe it's the English climate, which 
certainly needs some redeeming feature, for it is as gener- 
ous with fog as you have heard. While there has been no 
rain since our arrival, the air has been so heavy with mist 
as to keep the roads in a continual muddy paste, which we 
are told will last until summer, except when frozen. With 
all the lights out because of the air raid danger, you simply 
cannot walk abroad at night without bumping into other 
pedestrians. Under the circumstances it is fortunate that 
the roads and streets are devoid of practically all save 
military vehicular traffic. As to temperature, the weather 
is less cold than raw. 

To digress back to the girl subject, you have no notion 
how attractive is this Billy Burke pajama costimie worn 
by the British factory girl. No matter how homely she is, 
this costume gives a girl a winsomeness which the pictures 
reproduced in the American newspapers fail wholly to 
convey. When American working girls catch on to this, I 
expect fully that they will wear their pajamas even to and 
from work on the L and subway trains. 

The restriction on the ration supply here makes you 
realize at once that the country is at war. You are famil- 
iar with my appetite, so it is sufficient for me to say that 
by eating tea at 5 yesterday and dinner right afterward I 
managed to get enough to sustain life overnight. Just so 
much and no more may be served to each person at each 
meal, and the portions are rather meagre. If you lick the 
platter clean, there is enough for the time being, but you 
are hungry before the next meal. When Broadway is 
restricted to this extent Broadway will be fighting mad — 
and the sooner the better. For Americans do not yet re- 
alize that they are at war. In this regard, I want to say 
that if you wish to send me presents that will be appreci- 
ated just mail me a pound tin of coffee now and then. The 
coffee we get here is just about on a par with the South's 



German Prisoners 259 

Civil War coffee, and we are advised that the further east 
we go the worse the decoction gets. The dearth of tobacco 
is also very apparent already, so if you will mail me a 
box of cigars every now and then they will come in handy. 

I went to church yesterday at Winchester Cathedral, 
which is one of the oldest religious edifices in the country, 
I think, and is of the Norman type of architecture, massive 
and cold, particularly as to the impression given by the 
interior. I had a meal, also, at an inn said to have been 
once a hostelry patronized by William the Conqueror, and 
the interior, with massive hewn oak rafters, certainly 
appears old enough to have been here in his time. The 
main road by here was built originally by Caesar's legion- 
aries. So you see we are on historic ground. Our quar- 
ters are in what the English call "huts," which are actually 
very comfortable concrete and galvanized iron barracks. 
We are two in a room, with iron beds, a washstand, shelves 
and a miniature Franklin heater which can make more 
heat on less fuel than any stove I ever saw. There are 
several organizations of women, enlisted for such military 
service as they can perform, in the vicinity, and they 
are certainly a cheerful and healthy looking lot. Also, 
they seem to make Tommy Atkins's lot much more 
cheerful. 

The English are working batches of German prisoners 
all about, and while the Fritzes are a strong enough look- 
ing bunch, many of them are undersized, and a great many 
of them are around the 40-year mark. They haven't by 
any means the Prussian Guard appearance of formid- 
ableness. 

The hardest part of my journey has been that I haven't 
got any mail, and I figure out that it will probably be three 
weeks yet before I receive any. But I hope that when the 
letters do start the chain will be uninterrupted. As I have 
told you before, you and Dad must not worry about me, 



26o One Who Gave His Life 

for I am in the best of health, and am having an experi- 
ence that is a privilege. 

I almost forgot to say that the soldier who takes care of 
these quarters has a coal black kitten which isn't suffering 
any from the -food conservation campaign. Lots of love 
to both of you — and don't worry. QuiNCY. 



CHAPTER IX 

At Last in France— Quaint and Grim Habitations in a Glittering 
Winter Landscape— Langres and Fort de Peigney— Friendly 
French Relations. 

The Battalion entrained for Southampton on Decem- 
ber 12. It was put on board the side-wheel steamer La 
France and safely taken across the Channel to Havre. 
There it was quartered in Rest Camp No. 2, described 
by a brother officer as made up of "tiny conical tents of 
the type the English use in Egypt and India — not more 
than ten feet in diameter ; twelve men to each tent." 

Mills wrote home that very evening : 

Somewhere in France, December 12, 191 7. 

My dear Mother: It is such a curious coincidence 
that I cannot help calling your attention to the fact that 
just seven months ago to-day I began my military life in 
dead earnest by reporting for training at Plattsburg. 
And here I am behind the lines along with many other 
Americans getting ready to make it very unpleasant for 
the apostles of Kultur, who are now clearly preparing to 
"end the war" again this coming summer. I have kept 
posted on the news, and am aware that the Tuetons plan 
to use Austrian troops again as they did at Verdun, on the 
Western front. But I think I can say without danger 
of violating any military confidence that from what I have 
seen in the short time I have been here of the state of 
preparedness on this side of the Hindenburg line I have 

261 



262 One Who Gave His Life 

no apprehension lest any new German offensive may 
succeed. 

Curiously enough, too, I fail to descend to any great 
depths of despair over the Russo-Rumanian situation. 
It is undeniably bad, but I do not believe that the Huns 
will be able to organize the Russian resources for their 
own use to any great extent for the reason that, in the 
nature of things, Russia must remain in a state of political 
flux for some time to come. And ultimately, I believe, the 
Russians will quit fighting among themselves and turn on 
the Germans again. You cannot attribute my view to 
optimism solely, for I continue firm in the conviction that 
the trend of history making is always in the right direction 
and cannot be reversed, although it may seem sometimes 
to be arrested. 

From what I note of conditions here I judge that France, 
instead of being "bled white," has left in her yet enough 
strength and fight to stage a world-Thermopylse should it 
be necessary, and that she has what is much more neces- 
sary : the will to fight to the end. I have seen some fine 
specimens of French manhood doing guard duty, and it 
goes without saying that if there are such men for service 
behind the lines they are not lacking for the trenches. 

I am in a rest camp temporarily, far behind the lines, but 
the place has the reality of war about it. All day you can 
hear the reports of great gun firing at target and testing 
work, and always there are dirigibles and airplanes circling 
overhead. These dirigibles at a distance produce the 
uncanny appearance of great insect bodies sweeping along 
through the air without wings to bear them up, and you 
keep looking for the supporting planes. The gas bags are 
of colors which make them resemble bodies of nice fat 
giant moths in mottling as well as in shape. 

I am writing in a long, low-ceilinged room used as an 
English officers' club. It is very cozy and comfortable, 



In France at Last 263 

with plenty of heat and light, writing tables and wicker 
lounging chairs around the big heater in the center. 
Altogether, I find the living conditions much more agree- 
able than the food, which tends too much to the bread, tea 
and jam order, and too Uttle to meats. For this reason I 
shall be mighty glad to get back again to the American 
army ration. 

While I have been writing here two British aviators, 
each with a decoration of some sort, have sat down 
opposite me to do a bit of writing. Decorations are the 
order all around, and I guess it will not be long before 
American uniforms will be similarly ornamented. 

The weather tends to cold and crispness, but is very 
pleasant, and my health is everything that could be 
desired. 

For the present I must close with the repeated in- 
junction that you are not to worry. Tell that we 

will undoubtedly have a Christmas tree, and that I will 
hang her presents to me on it. The men are well, having 
stood their journey remarkably well. I send much love for 
Dad and yourself, and regards to all my friends. 

QUINCY. 

December 13, 1917- 

Dear Mother and Dad:— I can certify to the fact 
that the English Channel deserves all the reputation it has 
earned for general rough-and-rowdiness. Having crossed 
it without being at all seasick I suppose I can now consider 
myself immune against that malady. But it was well 
enough that someone wasn't sick, for as a rule every man 
collapsed right where he was and remained until we hit 
port. I wrote you, I believe, that on our way across the 
Atlantic our ship did pretty much everything but loop the 
loop in the air; well, I beheve the channel boat we were 



264 One Who Gave His Life 

on added that stunt as a climax. It certainly thought 
nothing at all of standing right upon end and shaking its 
bow at the zenith. The men are thanking their stars that 
they have no more sea travel ahead of them, but no doubt 
when they become acquainted with trench mud they will 
"holler" to be aboard ship and roll around in the scuppers 
again. 

It seems odd that the British postal system accepts mail 
from American soldiers without any charge. When we 
landed in England it cost us only two cents to send letters 
across the ocean through the civil P. O. And back in the 
U. S. it cost three cents to send a letter merely across the 
Hudson from Jersey City to New York. The farther 
away from home you get the less postage costs you, it 
seems ; but I suppose I had best wait before congratulating 
myself on this until I find out what the American Postal 
arrangements are on this side. It is an interesting fact, 
though, that England has not yet found it necessary to 
increase postal rates while the U. S. did so almost im- 
mediately on entering the war. 

You will be surprised, no doubt, at receiving two letters 
from me dated so closely together, but while I am at 
this rest camp I am making use of what may prove to be 
the last comfortable writing facilities I shall enjoy for 
some time. In fact, there is nothing to do but write 
and loaf, for we are not allowed to leave the military 
reservation. And while it is hard on us to keep us from 
sightseeing it is a good thing to make us make use of this 
place as a real rest camp, for the whole outfit is travel 
weary and has more wearying travel ahead of it. I regret 
very much that I cannot see anything of this vicinity. 
There is some compensation for staying, however, in the 
fact that the mess has improved greatly, is in fact much 
less stinted than the officers' mess I shared in England. 
This tends to confirm me in the view that there is a lot of 



Boche Illusion 265 

hysterical economy in England. I was inclined to believe 
so when I observed that while the amount of money you 
could spend for food seemed to be pretty strictly regulated 
there was nothing to keep you from squandering as much 
as you pleased on champagne during the legal hours for 
selling liquors. False economy is in some respects as bad 
as no economy, so I was sorry to note this English 
tendency. 

In the matter of dress I am inclined to think that the 
English women set the American women a very good 
example. I saw very little extravagant befrilling, al- 
though I would probably have found plenty in London had 
I gotten there. The English women I saw wore simple 
dresses, low cut, low heel, sensible looking shoes and 
heavy stockings of the golf wool variety. I am inclined 
to agree that the English women show better sense in their 
dress than do their American sisters. While in England I 
saw only one woman exhibiting the very obvious silk 
stocking which has come to be almost the rule in our 
country. 

I have been censoring more mail for the men and one of 
them remarked very brightly that the only talk he can 
understand over here is the dogs', which is just the same. 
I might add that so is the cats'. We have two cats here, a 
white and gray kitten that lounges all over the officers in 
the club, and a gray tiger that puts up in the men's quar- 
ters and is very French in that he talks all over himself 
whenever you give him the opportunity. 

I know it will interest you to hear of the experience of 
one 'of our men who speaks German. He spoke to a 
German prisoner and was informed by the Boche in the 
course of their conversation that the Allies could never 
lick Germany, that she still has plenty of men. When the 
American asked the German how long he had been a 
prisoner the answer was, "Twenty-nine months." And 



266 One Who Gave His Life 

there you are ! The fixed idea that Germany will win has 
been so beaten into the German skull that about the only 
way to let any light into that skull is to break it. Here 
was this fellow, who had been out of Germany almost 
throughout the war, serene in his conviction that every- 
thing must be all right in the Fatherland. 

December 15: — Well, this missive is being concluded 
somewhere else in France, and maybe my next may be be- 
gun still somewhere else, for I am by no means sure that we 
have yet reached our final abiding place for the training 
period. For several reasons I would like to stay here, 
though. Not only is this locality most interesting, but 
the sooner we get set and stay that way, the sooner we will 
get letters from home. As long as we keep shuttling here 
and there we cannot hope to get any mail, and that is the 
hardest part of foreign service. Officers whom we met 
here to-day told us that they did not get their first mail for 
six or or seven weeks after arriving on this side. I trust 
we shall have better luck. However, if we are kept going 
at the same pace we set right off the bat to-day — and I 
hope we are — we will have mighty little time to worry 
about anything. 

More than ever I am convinced that the soldiers of the 
Allies are doing the greatest work that has ever been done. 
And I am surer than ever, if that be possible, that if I had 
not undertaken to do what I could in that work I would 
never have been satisfied with myself. The closer I get 
to the firing line the more enthusiastic I am over the job. 

In spite of my apprehension that our last quarters would 
be the last really comfortable ones we would have, we are 
now fixed up just about as well as soldiers on active 
service could ask to be, and in a most interesting place 
about which I will try to write you a little something as 
soon as I get time. In haste and love, Quincy. 



Old Time Fortress 267 

The location from which the latter part of the above 
letter was written and which is elaborately described in 
the next was Fort de Peigney, an old stronghold situated 
about two kilometers, or a mile and a quarter, from the 
ancient walled city of Langres, which is situated, roughly, 
a hundred and fifty miles east by south from Paris. The 
trip was made in bitter cold weather in unheated coaches. 
The men were not loaded on cattle cars as were the French 
soldiers, but third class carriages were provided. The 
space on these was painfully inadequate and the windows 
were broken. All had to stand, jammed like sardines 
while the cruel wind swept through. Some of the men 
were so frozen that they could hardly walk when they 
reached Langres. 

It should be explained here that after leaving the 
American shores all distinction between the old regimental 
officers and the "extras " from Plattsburg and other camps 
had been effaced. Mills was placed regularly in charge of 
a squad of 50 men of Company G. Down to the date now 
reached Major Stanley expected to join the rest of the 
regiment at once. The other battalions were sent, how- 
ever, to the Haute Marne region near Chaumont and were 
quartered in the little village of Rimau court. The only 
Americans in the Langres vicinity besides the Second 
Battalion were officers from scattered regiments on 
detached duty. Company G was the only one quartered 
in the Fort, the rest of the battalion being housed in 
the Turenne barracks. Mills promptly followed up the 
announcement of his arrival : 

December 17, 191 7. 

Dear Mother: Well, well! And where do you sup- 
pose I spent Christmas? For this will reach you long 
after the 25th. No, not in gay Paree — not by any means, 
but in an old stone fort somewhere between the Pyrenees 



268 One Who Gave His Life 

and the Vosges which might have been translated right out 
of the pages of Dumas for our entertainment. Here is 
where we were stationed on finishing our rail journey, 
and here we are likely to stay for part of our training at 
least. And it is surely a strange experience to these Iowa 
boys to be set down in a spot so vastly different from their 
native State to walk guard on narrow drawbridges and 
lofty parapets. There is no grilled portcullis to be 
lowered at night for them to peep through, but there are 
moats in plenty, deep and wide though dry, and number- 
less subterranean passageways through works of earth and 
stone. 

We officers mess in a long, low vaulted, stone chamber 
illumined by old brass lamps, the property of former 
French garrisons for decades. We eat from trestled tables, 
sitting on trestled benches, and while our tableware is 
mostly modern our coffee is poured from great stone 
pitchers that might have been in use, for all their appear- 
ance, since before coffee was known as a beverage in this 
part of the world. Our sleeping quarters are in another 
vaulted stone chamber, higher of ceiling and on an upper 
floor, with a great circular well — which once ran all the 
way from roof to cellar but is now floored over with wood 
at each story — piercing its centre. All floors, in court- 
yards or inner chambers, are of stone, and your steps 
resound mightily in the narrow interior passage ways. 

You are not surprised to know, I am sure, that it is hard 
for me to convince myself every morning that I ought not 
to be clamping on a steel casque and girding myself with a 
broadsword belt instead of putting on a Stetson service hat 
and strapping on a Colt .45. Really, it would not surprise 
me at all for some knight or retainer in coat of mail to step 
out of the black recess of an underground chamber into the 
flare of my ultra-modern electric flashlight and challenge 
me at any time as I go straying about the deserted quar- 



American Good Humor 269 

ters of the place . Mysterious passageways lead down from 
dark chambers on the wall tops through iron gratings and 
blackness into the bowels of the fort. Just why I haven't 
seen the official ghost emerge stealthily from one of them I 
do not know, but I haven't given up hope yet. 

I think the men are awestruck somewhat by an environ- 
ment so different from anything they had previously 
known. They are as interested as children and every 
bit as busy exploring when they are not at work. They 
have had their hands full cleaning up, though, for we 
found the place very dirty and had to dig in for all we were 
worth to make it habitable. The commanding officer — an 
American — was amazed by the manner our outfit pitched 
right in as soon as it piled off the train. "I never saw 
anything like it," he said. "Here you arrive at the end 
of a trip from the U. S., and after spending the last two 
nights on crowded railroad cars with practically no rest go 
right to work without a word of grumbling from a single 
man. And what breakfast you got to work on you 
had to scrape together the best you could." His praise 
was deserved, too, for the outfit certainly did come 
through the entrance into foreign service in a soldierly 
manner. The only great drawback to our location here is 
the shortage of fuel, and we would have met the same 
trouble anywhere in France, I guess. We have to scratch 
to get enough wood to keep the kitchens going, and as for 
the living quarters, well we bundle up and make the best of 
it. Fortunately all my stuff came through with me, so I 
am warmly clothed. The blanket of snow two or three 
inches deep which covers the ground to-day indicates 
that we will have to keep on bundling up for winter 
has begun. 

This fort, which is very interesting historically, over- 
looks one of those typical French valleys, pictures of which 
you have seen so often, with a tree-lined canal winding 



270 One Who Gave His Life 

through it, and rolling waves of cultivated fields, dotted 
with villages here and there, stretching away on every 
hand. Trees are few. On the summit of another hill 
some three miles away stands an ancient French walled 
town [Langres], one of the oldest, in which I have no doubt 
that I shall find much to interest me in spite of the fact that 
Mr. Rubel came back from visiting it yesterday much 
disgusted because it had no subways or Gay White Way. 
As you know, a landscape is always at its finest under a 
snow blanket, and I walked all around the top of the fort 
the first thing in the morning so I would not miss an inch 
of it. I see copies of the Paris editions of the New York 
Herald and Chicago Tribune, so I know that you folks in 
New York are plowing through a foot of snow. Your 
winter is beginning early. 

As to the coffee I told you to mail me, don't bother; we 
have plenty of good coffee — good food of every sort, 
in fact — now that we are back on American rations. The 
only trouble is in getting fuel to cook the food, and you 
can't send me a cord of wood or a ton of coal by either 
express or parcels post. 

By the way, have a ride on me. Here is a subway ticket 
I found in my clothes, and as there is no likelihood of my 
needing it right away I pass it along to you. 

Here it is ii:io o'clock, which means that you folks 
at home are just starting the day, and also that I will be 
rolled in my blankets some hours before you and the cats 
turn in to-night. Somehow I have never been able to 
catch up that five hours we lost somewhere in the Atlantic. 
You know I have a weakness for sleep anyway. 

I hope that this finds you and Dad as well as I am, and 
also as free from worry. We are due to begin right away 
on a hard course of training, and all the men will be glad. 
They have been inactive so long that they are getting 
stiff. I will write as often as I can, but the conditions are 



Astray in the Snow 271 

not propitious. Everybody crowds around one fire — if we 
are lucky enough to have even one — and everybody but 
myself talks. Much love. 

QUINCY. 

It will be borne in mind that all these letters have the 
conventional date line "Somewhere in France!" The 
next following, however, were written from the Fort de 
Peigney. The old town visited was, of course, Langres : 

December 20, 191 7. 

My dear Mother: You cannot imagine my delight 
to-day at receiving my first mail since leaving the other 
side, including two of the letters you mailed during my 
first voyage. I cannot expect to receive for a long time 
any of your recent letters. But it will seem more like 
Christmas now that I have heard from home. 

The weather has moderated considerably, but the 
ground is still white and I am expecting a white Christmas, 
which will also be strictly in keeping with the spirit. 

As I sit here writing, the afternoon sunlight is pouring 
in through our long, narrow window, flooding the narrow, 
vaulted chamber with that ruddy golden glow that you see 
so often in the winter time. Altogether, circumstances 
seem to be doing their best to repay me for the way they 
smote me last night. I started out from town after dark, 
and in a network of roads naturally took the wrong one, 
with the consequence that I wandered for several hours 
over the beautiful snow-covered landscape I wrote you 
about previously. Take my word for it, my Httle old 
pocket flashlight was a friend in need. One of the en- 
listed men who lost his way was not blessed with a flash- 
light, and in consequence he didn't get home until morn- 
ing. He was lucky in finding a place to stay for the night, 
for the long distances you can traverse over these roads, 



272 One Who Gave His Life 

with every foot of land on either hand under cultivation 
and yet not a sign of human habitation, are remarkable. 
Where you see isolated farmhouses in the United States 
the country folk here cluster their homes in little villages. 

The old town I visited is altogether the quaintest place 
I have ever been in. Not a house within its walls but 
appears to have been there since the Seventeenth Century. 
Its crooked little thread-needle streets wind every way 
around the terraces, and the tones that echo from its 
belfries sound strangely mediaeval and out of tune with the 
jangling of the railway engine bells and the shrill squealing 
of their whistles in the yards in the valley below. I felt 
very much that I was walking in the Middle Ages, but 
every time a pretty French mademoiselle clad in the latest 
Paris modes turned a corner I was jarred rudely out of my 
reverie. Yes, in spite of the war there is no dearth of well- 
dressed women. And some of them are very pretty, too, 
although there is really very little comfort in making signs 
to them. I am free to state that the smile language is 
universal, however. 

I had no trouble in purchasing at the inns, which are as 
antiquated as the town itself, all the food I wanted, and 
exceedingly good food it was, too, well cooked and of fine 
flavor. The only dearth really notable is of sweets. For 
dessert you get fruits, but little pastry. Chocolate candies 
are scarce and very high in price. But no one should kick 
on our fare. The bread — whole wheat — is fine, much 
better than any of the same sort I have ever got hold of in 
the States. I hope that you are as well as when your 
letters were written, and Dad also. My love to both of 
you. QuiNCY. 

December 22, 1917. 

My dear Mother: Here it is only three days until 
Christmas, and I can scarcely reaHze that we have been 



Fairy Landscape 273 

here a week. We are kept so busy that actually all the 
time I have to myself is devoted to writing letters. 

I have been waiting to say something about the country 
until I could get a better idea of it, but I have had no 
opportunity to do more observing than I can manage from 
the fort's walls. Certainly the phrase "the pleasant land 
of France" would describe this section in a milder season, 
, for there is a peacefulness about the whole landscape that 
simply puts you at rest. In winter dress the landscape is 
the most beautiful I have ever seen. First it received a 
coating of two or three inches of snow; then we had a 
succession of peculiarly gray days when the air was so 
heavy with mist that Lieut. Nelson lost his way walking 
out from town in broad daylight, and from this mist every 
stone and twig gathered a feathery white coating that 
gave the whole countryside the appearance of an immense 
frosted cake, like the fancy ones you see in the caterers' 
windows, when the sun shone out dimly on it this morning. 

I may say that the sun has not really shone since we 
have been in France, but the half lights from it produce 
some marvelous effects. The one of yesterday afternoon 
I do not expect to see outdone ever. Looking across 
toward the town perched on the opposite hilltop we saw its 
battlements and towers standing out vaguely through a 
purple haze of the sort that we used to comment on so 
often at the Academy picture shows, except that this 
coloring, painted by the hand of Nature, excelled in 
exquisite delicacy anything that could be produced by the 
hand of man. City and hill seemed some fairy mirage, 
right side up, enticing to an enchanted land. And the 
utter stillness which grips the entire country accentuated 
this illusion of unreality. 

This quietness is the most striking thing about France. 
Each person is going about his business as unconcernedly 
as if there were no war anywhere in the world. If it were 

IS 



274 One Who Gave His Life 

not for the numbers of men in uniform you see everywhere 
you would think the country was at peace. There is none 
of the excitement and lack of control which we have been 
taught to expect of the Gallic temperament. Instead, the 
keynote of the French character seems to me to be stoicism. 
Nor is the country grief stricken because of its tremendous 
losses, so far as I can tell. Its people seem to be animated 
by the ideal: "For France!" It is inspiring to see this 
spirit. 

I have been particularly struck by the fine physique of 
all of the French soldiers I have seen. Those we have 
come in contact with average larger in stature than the 
men of our organization. And when you look at the size 
of their leg and arm muscles, the breadth of their shoulders 
and the depth of their chests you understand why the 
Kaiser's "supermen" have been brought right down to 
earth. These Frenchmen are finer-looking specimens of 
humanity than the English soldiers, and they are a gay 
bunch. While women are doing a great deal of the work 
here they are by no means doing it all. It is nothing 
unusual to see young men at civilian occupations. Gener- 
ally speaking, I believe the country looks to be better 
worked, in respect to farming activities, than England. 
In common with the great preponderance of the men — 
whose letters I censor — I like it the better of the two coun- 
tries. Both must be vastly different in peace times, how- 
ever. One thing that has impressed me greatly is that in 
neither country do you see, with rare exceptions, auto- 
mobiles or other vehicles on the roads except those in the 
military service. This is the outstanding indication which 
points always to the fact that the country is at war. 

So far as I can see no one here is suffering for want of 
necessary food, although the luxuries come pretty high. 
Butchers' and grocery shops seem well stocked and patron- 
ized, and no one looks pinched for want of a full stomach. 



Christmas Town 275 

As for ourselves, we are faring royally. For one thing, we 
have biscuits — and good ones, too— at almost every meal. 
This is the first time I've enjoyed this Southern luxury 
since I left home to go to New York. And the butter we 
melt on them is ' ' the best butter ' ' and the syrup we " sop " 
them in is the best syrup — officially known in army circles 
as "larrup"— that is to be obtained. No one need 
sympathize with us on the food question, that's sure. 
With much love to Dad and yourself, Quincy. 

P.S. I might mention here that I have made an allot- 
ment from my pay to be sent to you every month, begin- 
ning with December. You will receive the first install- 
ment some time in January, or, if you do not, communi- 
cate with the War Department and find out what the 
hitch is. I want you to use this money in theatre-going 
and enjoying life. I do not need it; in fact there is no 
opportunity to spend over here, and I have no doubt that 
I will be sending additional sums home from time to time. 
Do not save this money, for I think it will be much better 
invested in whatever will occupy your mind and keep you 
from worrying— in which there is no use — and this applies 
to Dad as well as yourself. 

With much love to both of you, Quincy. 

December 25, 1917. 

Dear Mother and Dad : Of all the lands I've been in 
— not that they've been so many at that — or shall be in 
ever, I am sure that this is the real Christmas land. The 
whole country, as I see it to-day from the walls of the fort 
here, lies before me like a great Christmas card. It is the 
original of all the little snow scenes with which all the cards 
you have ever bought for this season have been decorated. 
The windows of the town on the hill opposite sparkle in the 
half-sunlight like the tinsel decorations on the cards that 



276 One Who Gave His Life 

you have sent and received to-day. With its walled 
exterior and its snow-covered roofs, you feel that this is not 
a real town but just a Christmas town put there to cheer 
us with the Christmas spirit. 

And, while I have seen no holly over here, France is 
surely the country for mistletoe. Trees are few, but the 
proportion of those decorated with huge clusters of this 
romantic parasite is simply amazing. Never have I seen 
mistletoe of such luxuriant growth anywhere else, but I 
have not had any view close enough to see whether it is as 
prolific in berries as our smaller American variety. Per- 
haps there is some relation between the profusion of 
French mistletoe and the reputed warmth of the feminine 
temperament here, but if so I am still waiting for the 
demonstrations of said temperament. Most of the girls 
I have seen have been pretty much the same as American 
girls in all respects. They are far prettier than the English 
girls — which is some compensation for having to stay here. 

I have devoted a large part of the day to censoring mail. 
The men are writing barrels of it, and while reading it is 
really a laborious task for us officers we do not feel like 
limiting them because their letter writing is such an 
obvious outlet for their loneliness. When they begin to 
hear from home regularly they will write less themselves. 
But they are now much more isolated than are their 
homefolk, who surely must have received some of the 
messages we sent back en route. This thing of being cut 
off from communication with those we left behind is, and 
will always be even when we go into action, the feature 
of warfare that preys most on our minds. The men 
write cheerfully enough about themselves — and they are 
experiencing nothing that soldiers should complain of — 
but when it comes to the mail subject they get importu- 
nate and beg everybody they know to write to them. 
Which explains the great volume of Jetters going out now» 



Soldier's Ideas 277 

While the job of censoring involves a lot of work I find 
much to interest me in it, too. You have to smile at the 
fashion in which these men speak well enough of France 
until they commence comparing it with the U. S. and then, 
as one put it, they "wouldn't swap the State of Iowa for 
all the land on this side of the Atlantic." To another's 
way of thinking, "the sun never shines on any land but 
the good old U. S. A," this comment being prompted by 
the prevailing fogs we have encoimtered in England and 
France. One chap who hasn't heard from his girl yet has 
threatened "to eat fish hooks and die" if she doesn't take 
her pen in hand and express tender sentiments toward 
him. "Ican't tell you where I am because I don't know," 
wrote another; "ain't it a helluva note when a fellow don't 
know where he's at?" "I'm not worrying about getting 
back to the old U. S. A," declared one more, "but I wish 
to God I could walk, instead of ride on that damned boat." 
Ocean travel is not very popular with the i68th. "I 
haven't seen a girl with silk stockings on since leaving the 
States. America for mine!" confesses one. This would 
seem to indicate that the theory upon which the American 
young woman dresses may not be entirely erroneous. "I 
didn't hang up my stocking," writes a wag, "for fear Old 
Santa would leave me a steel helmet and a new pick and 
shovel." 

The men are cheerful, admirably so, joking over dis- 
comforts at which not one of them but would have re- 
belled in civilian life. So far as discomforts can be 
minimized, they are, of course, and I am surprised that 
conditions are so good considering that w^e are living in the 
field in actual time of war. But just the same the men 
would rather by all sorts of odds be back in old I-o-way, 
and they write in unison that they sure do want to get at 
those Boches and give them hell for bringing good Ameri- 
cans out of God's country on such a jaunt as this. As 



278 One Who Gave His Life 

they put it they're, "just raring to get at Fritz." That's 
the sort of "peace on earth, good will to men" spirit that 
pervades this ancient pile to-day. The men didn't really 
hate the Germans before they came over here; they do 
now. Remarkable what a fine boomerang the Kaiser 
constructed for himself in Frightfulness. The process 
of "beaning" himself with said weapon may be slow, but 
it will prove sure. 

I did not attend church this morning, but I celebrated 
the day even more formally; I made it a real feast day by 
taking a bath, the first I've had since arriving in France. 
To get it I had to have my striker bring in two big fifteen 
gallon galvanized iron buckets, each half full of hot water, 
in one of which I stood, washing out of the other. If I 
walk to town I can get a bath at the hospital — and a 
dated certificate to prove that once I was really clean — but 
I haven't had much relish for walking that town road after 
the way I stumbled all over the map of France the night I 
lost my way. Anyway, I'm clean now; but baths come 
around just about as often as Christmasses in this country. 

Well, God bless you folks at home — and the loving ones 
at Statesville ! 

Just as I was about to write this morning that Santa 
could have brought no load so welcome, had he come to 
Fort [de Peigney], as a bunch of mail sacks, the mail call 
blew, and you should have heard the yell of delight 
that rang out of the barracks. A mob of wild men in 
uniform followed it out into the courtyard, ran right 
on over the bugler and would have torn the mailbags to 
pieces if a guard hadn't been put over them. Christmas 
mail! Real Christmas mail! And it brought me your 
(Mother's) letter mailed November 25, yours and Dad's 
letters of November 29, Sweet's Christmas card (a real 
cute one it is, too) postmarked December 4, a letter 
from M.L. and The Evening Sun editorial pages for the 



Christmas Smoker 279 

week I left home. What a fine Christmas present from 
all of you. I am so glad to know that you received in 
advance the reassurance I hoped you would get regarding 
my safe departure and voyage. And I am so thankful to 
know that both you and Dad — I can't get out of the habit 
of writing in the singular instead of the plural — are both so 
well and sensible. Don't worry, ever; it is uncalled for 
and useless. I'm sorry you, Mother, went down to the 
ferry the day I left. I delivered your good wishes to the 
gentlemen you named ; Uncle Sam presented Mr. Nelson 
with a Christmas present in the shape of a i st Lieutenancy, 
by the way, and all asked to be remembered to both 
of you. 

I never expect to be more fully exhausted than I was 
that sailing day. But my stateroom on the boat was a 
luxury, and I recuperated speedily after some hours of 
continuous sleep. Am getting lots of sleep here, and am 
just as tough physically and as mean as anybody needs to 
be to go Fritz-hunting. No, "my friend" the dog didn't 
come along. Suppose he's still hanging around Gover- 
nor's Island. 

Taking it by and large, with censoring letters, bathing 
up, target practice and instructing the men, this has been a 
pretty active Christmas, with Turkey and "fixins" for 
dinner and a smoker, the fuel furnished by The Sun to- 
bacco fund, to finish the day. The men got ten packages 
of tobacco and several packs of cigarettes apiece ; it was a 
real boon to them. I had the pleasure of formally present- 
ing the smokes in behalf of The Sun's readers. Much love. 

QUINCY. 

, France, 



December 29, 1917. 
Dear Mother: We are resting up a bit to-day after 
Considerable of a manoeuver yesterday, and the rest is not 



28o One Who Gave His Life 

amiss for I'll assure you that clambering around over 
rough ground through about a foot of snow isn't the easiest 
thing in the world, particularly when you're packing loads 
of weapons and ammunition up and down steep hills. 
One good thing: I'm certainly warm enough with all the 
sweaters and helmets and mittens you provided for me. 
My feet are warm too, for I keep them in heavy boots two 
sizes too large for me — all the extra space being occupied 
by two pairs of those extra heavy woolen socks — which 
lace nearly to my knees, their uppers taking the place of 
leggings. That sheepskin coat is the most valuable thing 
I purchased. I wear it all the time except when I sleep, 
and it keeps me as warm as toast. And when I shuck it 
off and crawl into Bill Gramer's sleeping bag every night 
I find the temperature equally comfortable. I am most 
fortunate in being so thoroughly equipped; in fact I do 
not know any other officer who is as well fitted out as I am. 
The cold here is steadier than the New York brand, and 
I believe that the thermometer average is much lower, but 
it is a dry cold that you do not notice. There is none of 
the rawness that strikes you to the marrow in the wind- 
swept canyons of Manhattan. Being on the weather 
subject I will dilate some more at this point on the beau- 
ties of this country. The weather is the most remarkable 
I have ever encountered in respect to the fact that, while 
the days are almost uniformly gray with the sun breaking 
through only rarely, the nights are almost always clear, 
with the brightest moonlight I have ever seen and the stars 
shining like jewels. In the white moonlight the snow 
sparkles like diamond chips on ground, trees and buildings, 
and walking at night is a delight to the eye. In spite of 
my experience in getting lost on the town road that dark 
night I have been rambling around alone over the country- 
side at night just because the moonHght is too wonderful 
to go inside and leave it to go to waste. 



War and Wintertime 281 

Speaking of yesterday's work, we are busy learning to 
use automatic rifles, grenades and other weapons. I have 
very Httle trouble in familiarizing myself with these and 
am becoming a pretty keen shot with the automatic pistol. 
I just imagine I see a helmet spike atop of the can I am 
aiming at — and it's good-night can! After yesterday's 
problem I can understand why neither side attempts — 
as a rule — any extensive operations in winter. A man, 
laden down as he has to be in going over the top, is handi- 
capped by the slippery footing and his progress is likely 
to be so slow that the other fellow in the trench will beat 
him to the solution of the problem. My wonder increases 
that the Russian troops were able to make the progress 
they did in the snowbound Caucasus. They must have 
been operating against troops vastly inferior in both 
morale and equipment. 

Speaking of the amount of stuff a fighting man has to 
carry, I felt as chock full of death and destruction when 
I went forward yesterday as the tarantula and the rat 
each bragged about being in their famous battle, as 
narrated by Archie the Cockroach, per old Don Marquis. 
I finished my Christmas letter early in the day in order to 
get it into the mail, and so couldn't narrate all the circum- 
stances of the evening, the main feature of which was a 
concert by a band organized by a number of men from the 
company, with instruments they brought from the States. 
I assure you they rendered fearful and wonderful music, 
but we had a real jollification, and there is another 
scheduled for New Year's. I have intended to comment 
also on the fact that although the interior walls of this 
fortification are of stone we have some snoring experts 
who can bore right through them — and I am one of the 
heaviest calibered of the bunch. 

You asked me what sort of present I bought myself with 
your Xmas donation. I haven't spent it yet — in fact 



282 One Who Gave His Life 

I spend hardly any money at all now — but you may rest 
assured that I will invest it when I get to Paris, Or may- 
be I'll let you buy m^e another pair of heayy boots with it 
before then. While I think of it, I want you to be sure 
to let me know whether you have to pay any postage on 
my letters and whether they are ever censored. As we 
understand it, letters addressed as mine are now will be 
delivered free of postage. And, so far as we know, we do 
all the censoring that is done on them. I am particularly 
anxious to know whether the letters I sent you from Eng- 
land were censored. I have a presentiment that the one 
I wrote on the boat did not get past the British censor 
in toto, although there was nothing in it that should not 
have passed. 

I haven't told you before about our cat, which lives 
in the recesses of the fort and has a short tail just like 
Sweet. It is a very fat and very indifferent feline. It has 
come to me several times after some wheedling but does 
not seem to care for attention. So far as I have been able 
to observe, it does not depend on the kitchen for a bite, 
being a true huntsman cat and preferring to live on game, 
of which there is certainly plenty around. It is a white cat 
with gray spots, its color scheme being such as to provide 
it with natural camouflage which assists it in hunting. 

And I must not neglect to state that that fruit cake 

of 's certainly was a Christmas blessing. I kept it 

carefully in my trunk until the day arrived and then cut it. 
Half of it was devoured on Christmas day and the other 
half is being held for New Year's Day. It kept fine, being 
neither too wet nor too dry, just right in fact. Our mess 
continues good, so good that I feel no desire to go to town 
for meals. Have been in but once yet, and hardly think it 
likely that my average will be more than one visit in two 
weeks while in training. Not that I can't go pretty much 
whenever I want to, but there is so much to learn that I 



Lombardy Poplars 283 

don't feel justified in loafing. Am in the best of health 
and spirits and want to hear a report that you are both 
the same. With lots of love for Dad and yourself, 

QUINCY. 

January i, 1918. 

My dear Parents : You see, I am beginning the New 
Year right by writing to you. I must also pen a letter 
to-day without fail to old Bill Gramer thanking him for the 
tobacco he donated to the company for Christmas. Be- 
cause The Sun's tobacco fund donation was so large, I 
held the Gramer bunch for a New Year's eve smoker, and 
last night we combined it with several other packages 
sent by Iowa people and had another big time. The 
combined gifts made an allowance of three cigars, several 
packages of Bull Durham, Tuxedo, etc., and cigarettes per 
man. As the men have not yet received their November 
and December pay they are clean strapped, and if it were 
not for these gifts they would be just about starving for 
the soldier's one indispensable luxury, tobacco. Their 
friends did them even a kinder turn than they knew in 
sending them these presents. 

More snow and hoar frost, so a little more "mirating," 
to use Manlius Watts's great word, over the beauties of 
this coimtry is in order. On the skyline all around us are 
rows of those Lombardy poplars which are so beautiful 
anyw^here, but which are more pleasing to the eye here 
than elsewhere because they appear natural details of the 
landscape. You have no idea what a striking sight they 
make standing out, their bare branches coated white with 
snow and frost, against the dull gray of the sky. With the 
sunshine to accentuate their whiteness and to intensify the 
leaden hue of their cloud-curtain background, these trees 
seem like great growths of coral rising right out of the 
ground. 



284 One Who Gave His Life 

The thicker the snow coverlet, the more beautiful this 
old fort becomes. As it stood before the snow fell it 
reminded you of the fortifications pictured in the movies; 
now, if you did not know of the masses of earth and stone 
underneath the snow covering you would expect to see the 
whole structure melt away with the warming up of the sun 
in the spring. No melting would be anticipated at any 
early date, however, for as one of the men put it in a letter 
home : ' ' Sunny France — sunny hell ! ' ' 

The deeper the snow gets the more I congratulate myself 
over my sheepskin coat and my great heavy, waterproof 
boots, although the latter do make me go "galumphing" 
around as if I weighed as much as an elephant. To hear 
me walking down one of these narrow corridors you would 
think I was a whole police force on the march, the stone 
walls and ceilings re-echo the sound so. By the way, 
before I forget it, I have been eating at the same table with 
four other North Carolinian reserve officers, one of whom, 
Sykes by name, is from Charlotte. These are some of the 
men who were sent over immediately at the close of the 
first training camps for further study here. I wish now 
that I had been sent over with them. These men have 
been moving about from school to school with the result 
that their mail has been just about one jump behind them 
all the time, so that they have been almost entirely out of 
communication with their homes. The man who sits 
at the place next to mine tells me he has received just three 
letters since arriving in October, and mail is a sore subject 
with him. In this respect, at any rate, I am luckier than 
he. And — another "by the way" — you remember oirr 
favorite Col. Heeza Liar of the animated movie cartoons, 
don't you? Well, just bear him in mind and I'll tell you 
something very interesting about him. 

" I see by the papers " that while we are engrossed in the 
more intimate personal details of history making over here 



Starving for Mail 285 

there is some history making in the large going on back in 
America, viz: the taking over of the railroads by the 
Government. I sincerely trust that this step has not 
been rendered necessary by the disloyalty of organized 
labor. Government ownership or management would 
spike any strike plot, of course, by making the strikers 
guilty of treason. I wish that you would keep me posted 
on political conditions at home, not only in regard to 
international and national aspects but also in regard to the 
way Hylan starts out at City Hall. 

The men are very wisely sending their ' ' Happy Easter ! " 
greetings to their folks now, so I will take a tip from them 
and send mine to you and all my friends and "folks," 
especially the home people at Statesville. With much 
love for all including the feline department, 

QUINCY. 

January 6, 191 8. 

Dear Mother: The company typewriter isn't work- 
ing, so here goes to see whether I've forgotten entirely how 
to tickle the keys. No doubt I'll find my fingers less 
nimble, for when the hand gains in cunning in one direction 
it must of necessity lose a bit in the other. 

I can't conscientiously say that this is drawing to "the 
end of a perfect day," for two separate and distinct motor 
trucks have come charging across the drawbridge loaded 
up with mail — and all that I received was The Evening Sun 
editorial page clippings for the first week after our initial 
start across the pond back in October. They are welcome, 
but I haven't had a letter since Christmas Day, and what I 
want is Real Mail. 

We were spoiled by having our first batch of letters 
delivered to us so promptly, and now that we are running 
up against the same sort of luck that beset everybody who 
preceded us, we're taking it pretty hard. The consign- 



286 One Who Gave His Life 

ment of mail that arrived to-day consisted almost entirely 
of Christmas packages bearing postmarks, some of them, 
as far back as October. About the only comfort they 
brought me was the encouragement to hope that the 
McElwees' Christmas box may yet reach me. I am 
endeavoring to be as amiable as possible under the cir- 
cumstances, but my disposition does smack at times of 
the ' ' British-colonel-after- twenty-years'-service-in-India " 
sort Pollock used to accuse me of at Plattsburg. 

While there have been several reasons — of a military 
nature which I cannot explain — for some mix-up in our 
mail service, I do not see that there is any excuse for its 
remaining paralyzed so long. From men who went 
through this sort of thing last summer, and are at last 
hearing from home pretty regularly, I learn that while the 
mail in this direction may be interrupted there is seldom 
any interruption in the stream of letters which you send 
back the other way. I am relieved to feel reasonably 
certain that my letters are reaching you O.K., for while I 
know I'm all right, you don't. Mail is a pretty bad thing 
to lack, but I thank God there has been no trouble yet with 
the delivery of food. Our rations are certainly all that 
could be desired, we have good dry shelter for officers and 
men, and the sick list is nothing like as large as might have 
been anticipated, considering all the circumstances. 

Latterly we have been having more wood, and have been 
keeping warmer. And the problem of light has been 
solved by the introduction of a gasolene burning lamp 
which generates its own gas from the liquid, and then burns 
that gas in a mantle. The light is very clear and white, 
and is produced at a minimum of cost. Nor is there any 
danger connected with it. The stoves are somewhat like 
the first sheet iron one you saw in my tent at Governor's 
Island, but better. At that, they're not so much better, 
for we have nicknamed them "one-man stoves." The 



Study in Footgear 287 

name is easily explained. What with the green wood we 
have to burn in them it takes about all one man's time to 
keep one going. If you're right on the job after getting 
a nice bed of coals formed, you're all right, but if you're 
just a minute late about replenishing the fuel you're "out 
of luck," as they say in the army. However, if I am as 
comfortably provided for all the time I'm in the service I'll 
be more than lucky — even if I do have to stop here and doc- 
tor the fire in that gosh-hanged sheet iron mule. That's 
better, so I can go on with my letter writing without fear 
of freezing. 

I got as much fun out of buying a pair of shoes yesterday 
as you would at a comic opera. The shopkeeper, his wife 
and his daughter all took turns at trying to effect the deal, 
and then they joined forces and tried all together, all 
talking, gesticulating and smiling at once. When I finally 
signified that I would take the shoes all three nearly 
collapsed from exhaustion. The father produced an 
expansive handkerchief and mopped his face, the mother 
flopped into a chair and fanned herself energetically; the 
daughter was the only one of the three who had strength 
left to do up the package. 

I might state that these are some shoes, being built of 
rawhide, and having soles nearly half an inch thick upon 
which are affixed numerous spikes, which we know as hob- 
nails but which the French call, much more appropriately, 
' ' talons. ' ' I have had these shoes oiled so that they are as 
waterproof as my boots, and I am now ready for the 
trenches, so far as footgear goes. There remains much 
other preparing to be done, of course, which will take a 
great deal of time if the programme is carried out as laid 
down, and as it should be. 

But this is aside from the point that my new shoes cost 
me $12, and I'd have paid several times that price rather 
than go without them. If you've got good heavy water- 



288 One Who Gave His Life 

tight shoes, big enough to permit you to wear three pair 
of heavy wool socks, you're not going to be bothered by 
either cold feet or sickness. 

I can get along over here without the new gold shoulder 
bars that have been authorized for second lieutenants, but 
I couldn't get along without the heavy footgear, heavy 
clothes and heavy bedding. The idea of decorating the 
lieutenants, first or second, with gold bars for the lower 
rank and silver bars for the higher is not a bad one so long 
as said lieutenant is to be paraded, for the uniform of the 
American officer has been found too severely plain for 
practical purposes. The gilt bar is similar to the silver 
bar which has long been worn by the first lieutenants. 
Gold for the lower rank and silver for the higher may seem 
a trifle out of keeping, but it is according to army prece- 
dent. The major wears a gold leaf, the lieutenant-colonel a 
silver one. Some of these days when I go on leave, I may 
have occasion to wear the new insignia, but none are 
available over here now, and the only second lieutenants 
who are wearing them are the new arrivals who have left 
the States since the new order was issued. 

I suppose that by the time you receive this you will 
have the flock of New Year cards I mailed you. I inclose 
two more cards with the request that you complete ad- 
dresses, add stamps and forward them to their destina- 
tions. I know you would have been interested, shopping 
with me when I purchased these cards. The shop people 
had a regular menagerie consisting of two large, sleepy- 
eyed cats of the general color scheme of Cinnamon, and a 
rather antiquated rat terrier. If you wanted to start 
something all you had to do was pet the cats while the dog 
was looking, and he straightway sent up a wail to heaven. 
He was so jealous of those cats that if I made a move 
toward them he got in my road. It was quite a comical 
little show. And, besides, the girl who sold me the post- 



As to Double Socks 289 

cards was "real pretty," so the time I spent there was by 
no means wasted. 

I have finally made very good friends with the short- 
tailed cat here at the fort, but it does not care for too much 
familiarity, never allowing itself to be taken up off the 
ground, and never desiring to come into my quarters. It 
believes in giving soldiers generally a pretty wide berth, 
but less because of having been maltreated than because 
it comes of wild stock, I think. 

We hear that there are ninety carloads of mail some- 
where in France waiting for delivery to American soldiers 
somewhere else in France, so it is reasonable to suppose 
that I have some letters waiting around to be delivered. 

I stopped at this point to do a little job of censoring and 
I'm here to tell you that all the men are interested in 
those ninety carloads. Unless there is a real letter 
delivery soon I expect to see some of the fellows try to 
swim back to dear old I-o-way. 

I had another illustration of the smallness of the world 
yesterday when a Dr. Willard, a ist lieut. in the medical 
corps, blew in to look at the men's feet. He is from 
Philadelphia, and knows T. Grier Miller. Dr. Willard 
had his owti fun with the men, who invariably insist on 
wearing their civilian sizes for military service, and take 
it as a personal affront for anyone to suggest more room for 
their tootsies. He went away leaving an outraged bunch 
who had been ordered to increase their shoe numbers on an 
average two sizes per man. This enlarging of the shoe 
gives each man a chance to wear several pairs of socks as I 
do. If a soldier is shod in this way he will not have 
"trench feet." 

Well, this missive continues to ramble on, and I guess I 
had better cut it off right here before I wear the typewriter 
out. By the time I write you again I hope that I will be 
able to report the arrival of more mail. Anyway, don't 



290 One Who Gave His Life 

get discouraged. Keep on writing. Maybe I will get a 
whole sackful all of my own some of these fine days. 
With much love to Dad and yourself, Quincy. 

January 9, 191 8. 

Dear Mother : Here are some fine cards which are also 
faithful representations of the sort of men we see in the 
French uniform. The more I see of them the surer I am 
that all this "bled white" stuff about France is being 
circulated by German agents. 

I am too busy to write a mid-week letter this week, and 
am sending these cards instead. And it may be that I 
will continue too busy to write twice a week; for Cap- 
tain Steller and Lieutenants Younkin, Rubel, Nelson and 
Pearsall have been detached temporarily and sent away to 
training school, leaving Mr. MilHkin and myself to run the 
company. Later we will go to school, and in the meantime 
we certainly have our hands full. 

I have supervision of sanitation and of a mess for some 
30 officers, so you can realize that there is very little sur- 
plus time to hang heavy on my hands. All that is not 
demanded by routine duties is being devoted to receiving 
instruction. I have learned a lot that I am sure will stand 
me in good stead later. The training we are getting is 
very interesting; the only fault I have to find is that I 
couldn't possibly get enough of it. That's always the way 
with the things worth while, no matter what your vocation. 

The weather continues cold, with lots of snow, but the 
winter is far more endurable than in New York, I note 
that you have been going through a bitter spell, and hope 
that it did not mean any hardship for you because of coal 
shortage. I continue well. Had a slight cold because I 
didn't get my boots and heavy shoes in time, but it is gone 
now, and I am in the pink of condition. 

No mail from you yet since Christmas, but I know it's 



The Russian Enigma 291 

not your fault. Love to Dad and yourself and regards to 
my friends. Q- 

January 13, 191 8. 

Dear Mother: I have been more interested the last 
day or so in the news from back home, as printed in the 
Paris editions of the N. Y. Herald and Chicago Tribune, 
than at any time since landing in France. President 
Wilson has, it seems to me, made one of his best strokes 
of diplomacy in his latest address to Congress setting forth 
the ends America is fighting for. In so far as the Russian 
people may be considered as having a point of view, the 
President's speech is the thing to hit it exactly right at 
exactly the right time. 

Developments in the Russo-German "peace" negotia- 
tions appear to indicate that the Huns are having to deal 
with at least a nucleus of loyal Russians who are not to be 
domineered by the German-bought traitors among the 
Bolsheviki, and who are fully aware that the proceedings 
thus far might be much better termed "German annex- 
ation negotiations." 

A band of sincere, idealistic dreamers roused to war by 
German chicanery, as it has been practised upon them 
already, might well turn out to be the most dangerous foe 
Kultur has yet stirred up for itself. As I have written to 
you before, I have never joined those pessimists who have 
given Russia up as entirely lost. There are some who still 
hope to see the guillotine set up on the Nevsky Prospect, 
and if it is set up its blade might just as well fall directly 
upon the neck of the Hohenzollem dynasty, for the blows 
that it strikes will ultimately reach that far. The situ- 
ation in Russia has not yet reached its final phase. No 
man can tell what that final phase will be. Not until the 
great Russian people have been crushed down to the very 
ground under the weight of Prussianism w^ill I believe that 



292 One Who Gave His Life 

they are entirely lost to the rest of the world, that the 
forces of reaction are to be enrooted in the ruins of the 
Romanoff throne instead of those of progress. 

We are very much buried here in our little theatre of 
action in France. We haven't much time to think; we 
are too intent on learning how to combat the immediate 
physical strength of Kultur to pay much attention to the 
bigger underlying spiritual forces which move much more 
slowly than von Hindenburg's drive, but which will, after 
all, have much more to do with shaping history as it will be 
written. Nevertheless, we do think, and only in the fact 
that the men who do the work in the trenches can think 
lies the hope for the future. If the German soldiers could 
think, if they had not been carefully taught not to think, 
then the problem would be easy of solution, would solve 
itself. Since the German man-machine is devoid of reason 
there seems to be but one answer — to annihilate as many 
of him as possible. Hence it is that the one idea of the 
Allied soldiers as they start into a new year of war is, 
"Kill the Boche!" 

If you can kill enough of him he begins to be overawed 
by physical terror, the only means by which you can 
make any appeal to him. And the French, English and 
American men higher up in military matters all assure 
you with a certainty that bears every appearance of being 
founded on fact, that the Allies are killing four or more 
Germans for every man they lose. 

One thing I cannot understand, unless the explanation 
may be that German high command does not want to pay 
such a price, with its men handicapped by the snow and ice 
underfoot, is why the big German drive on the Western 
front is being so long delayed. It has been due ever since 
the Russian collapse ; the longer the delay the less German 
hope possible of its succeeding. So far as any actual 
danger exists of its succeeding, I am in a position to state 



Yellow Peril 293 

there isn't any. The harder the drive, the more dead 
Germans without proportionate Allied loss. So let them 
come and be damned to them — and the harder they drive 
the better. 

I have seen pretty nearly every sort of soldier you can 
think of except Belgians, Serbians, Roumanians, and 
Italians. The most picturesque are the Turcos, French 
"Blue Devils" and Scotch kilties, British, Canadians, 
Australians, Russians, even Japanese, I've seen them all. 
The Japs were doing guard duty at the port where we 
landed ; so were the Russians. 

The Chinese who have been transported here in great 
gangs to do the heavy labor have attracted my attention 
particularly. All I have to say is that if the "yellow 
peril" ever boils over out of the Orient under the leader- 
ship of Japan, God help the lands it invades. These 
coolies, staring at us and jabbering away among them- 
selves, remind you for all the world of gorillas. It is a 
remarkable fact that there is a striking similarity between 
the bestiality you see in their faces and that you see in 
the faces of the Hun prisoners who are also working in 
crowds all about. There is nothing surprising about see- 
ing it in the faces of the Chinese, but you might have ex- 
pected something more from members of a race which has 
had equal advantages with the other Western peoples for 
civilization. The interesting problem is not so much how 
to lick the Germans as what to do with them after they're 
licked. How such brutes can be permitted to continue to 
live next door to enlightened peoples is hard to see. 

Well, maybe I can solve the question by sleeping over it. 
If not, I can at least prepare myself by getting plenty of 
sleep for dealing directly with friend Boche. So lots of 
love for both Dad and yourself, and remember me to all 
the friends. More soon. No letters yet. Good-night. 

QUINCY. 



294 One Who Gave His Life 

January 15, 1918. 

Dear Mother : It is true that I am a busy lad these 
days, but I will have to be a whole lot busier before I let 
my birthday go by without writing you a letter. 

I am celebrating my natal day by writing this letter and 
by getting my hair cut. Just as I started to write to you 
one of the men from the company came in and advised me 
that he was ready to amputate my locks, so I sheathed the 
pencil and he unlimbered his shears and fell to. The 
result was hardly like a Broadway cut, more like ' ' the sort 
that Mother used to make" by turning the bread-and- 
milk bowl over your head and whacking off all that 
showed. But 'twill serve, and the Lord knows I needed it. 

The last cut I got was on the boat. And the barber 
who supplied me with that one was sure the Germans were 
such mighty men because they drank so much beer. 
England had made a fearsome mistake, in his opinion, in 
cutting down the beer ration, and the U.S. was stumbling 
fast after to perdition. Not the roast beef but the fine 
sack of old England had made her famous, in this seafaring 
barber's opinion, and the tears nearly trickled down his 
cheeks as he bewailed her latter day decadence. I almost 
staggered from his presence, too, I might add; the sale of 
intoxicants to soldiers was forbidden aboardship, but all 
you had to do to get a jag was go and smell the barber's 
breath. 

To-day was the first time I was ever served by a barber 
in hip boots of the rubber variety, but I may have stranger 
cuts and closer shaves. This military barber was like his 
civilian brethren in garrulity. He descanted at length on 
that interpretation of a certain passage in the Book of 
Revelation according to which the war is going to end 
next month. I told him that while I wouldn't discourage 
his devotion to the Bible, just the same I would keep on 
learning to throw hand grenades and shoot automatic 



Blessing of Peace 295 

rifles and jab bayonets, if I were in his place. I promised 
him, however, that if the war did end next month, any 
man in Co. G who beat me to a church to offer up my 
thanks would have to take a good start and run fast. I 
also promised him that in such a case I would be a regular 
attendant not only at Sunday school and church, but at 
prayer meeting and all the special services I could find out 
about, and that I would join all the churches, including 
the Roman Catholic. 

I will assure you, moreover, that in case these prophets 
win out I am going to sing louder than S. M., pray louder 
than Uncle T. A., and look twice as sanctimonious as old 
man G. B. all the rest of my days. Anybody who gets 
anything on me for observing all the forms of piety will 
have to go some. Not that I am "skeered," or anything 
like that, but as between war and peace, give me peace — 
although not at any price ; I am not too proud to fight, and 
I'm not too proud to sleep until 7 :30 A.M. in an honest -to- 
God bed, either, instead of sleeping until 6 A.M. on an army 
cot, no matter how comfortable Bill Cramer's sleeping 

bag is. 

The barber got me started and it's hard to ring off, but I 
guess I had better pass on to cell you that if nothing goes 
amiss I may see something of the Alps and Switzerland 
before I get home. The men are all planning their trips, 
and most of them vote for a triumphal return via China 
and the Golden Gate, but you know my weakness for the 
mountain tops and the hikes above the clouds. As to 
our future plans, I suppose that making them is waste of 
time, for if we last until Uncle Sam gets through using us 
he will pack us all off home in a bunch. 

If everybody who wanted to wander around Europe got 
a leave of absence to do so, the whole American army 
would be roving over the map indefinitely, and large 
contingents of it tramping away from Monte Carlo on its 



296 One Who Gave His Life 

uppers if the prohibition against soldiers' gambUng were 
raised. Now, the wheels may not revolve nor the cards 
fall for the wearer of a uniform. No wonder I can afford 
to send an allotment home; they won't let a soldier be 
anything but good. 

Never mind. If I am 34 I still have the roaring forties 
ahead of me, and, believe me, after this experience I sure 
am going to make them roar. Hello ! I had almost for- 
gotten how I was going to join the church — or churches — 
and haunt the mourners' bench, but I guess I'll manage to 
arrange my schedule so I still may roar on Tuesdays and 
Fridays until I am 50. 

No, I haven't had a darn drop to drink for my birthday. 
But the cooks made a pie about a foot and a half across 
with my name engrossed on the crust, and maybe it went 
to my head. Also, we had some more of those fine dough- 
nuts for dinner. At that, I hope we may all eat my birth- 
day dinner together in 1919, and that in the meantime you 
and Dad will not do any unnecessary worrying. With lots 
of love for both of you, and hoping to get a letter from you 
soon, QuiNCY. 

January 20, 191 8. 

Dear Mother: I am inclosing a little present — a 
Jeanne d'Arc medal, which is insignificant in value, but as 
a work of art, I think, very fine. I would have preferred to 
get this in pin shape, but could not, so if you wish you can 
have the link at the top cut off, and a safety catch fast- 
ened on the back. You see my faith is great. In spite of 
the fact that I haven't got any since Christmas, I believe 
that letters still cross the Atlantic. Somehow I feel 
reasonably sure that my mail is getting home regularly, 
and I hope I am right. 

The little shops in the town near here are queer combi- 
nations of business establishments, menageries, living 



Money in Wads 297 

rooms and nurseries. In each one you will find the whole 
d — family, including the d — dog, congregated around the 
store stove to save fuel. Naturally, such places are not 
long on sanitation, but then there isn't much of that here 
except what we brought along with us. 

While I was purchasing your Jeanne d'Arc medal 
yesterday a large red and green parrot was cocking his 
eye at me from his cage and screaming ' ' Hello. ' ' When I 
went into my shoe shop to have "talons" put on my high 
boots I found a fine big Persian cat named Pierrot playing 
with everyone who came in, and with him I spent some 
time. Through the cranny of every door that stands ajar 
along every street you can see a dog's nose protruding. 
This is surely a land of pets, and sleek, fat ones they are 
too, war rations or no war rations. You can scarcely 
thread your way through the narrow streets without 
stumbling over dogs, big or little. They must consume 
enough grub to keep a company moving, at least. 

But everybody feeds well. For dinner, or lunch, at the 
hotel yesterday I had— shades of the battle of the Mame ! 
— sauerkraut and "sossidges " (and dam good the melange 
was, too, I'll assure you), roast mutton and spuds, choco- 
late, neufchatel cheese, war bread, unsalted butter and 
"red ink." Not a bad meal that, for three francs fifty 
centimes, or about 60 cents in real money, especially 
considering that I encored on every course. I hardly had 
the face to look the proprietress in the eyes when I paid up. 
Quite a contrast, this, with the scraping and stinting I 
encountered in England. 

Speaking of "real money" prompts me to remark that 
you get so much of this French stage money in exchange for 
a $100 pay check — about what I am drawing now — that 
you feel like a millionaire. The stuft doesn't look like 
money, it doesn't feel like money, and it doesn't spend like 
money. It's like the chaff from wheat! Fill a bushel 



298 One Who Gave His Life 

measure with it and it doesn't weigh a thing. You get all 
your pockets stuffed with these flimsy franc notes of vari- 
ous denominations, and your natural inclination is to get 
rid of the stuff and get yourself comfortable. And, after 
you spend it, you find upon calculation that you have 
been spending real money — and haven't got anything in 
return. I'm keeping a $i bill in my pocketbook just so I 
can look at it from time to time and see what real money 
looks like. And when I get back to the States I'm going 
to have that souvenir dollar framed alongside a 5-franc 
note (a dollar is worth just about 5f. 70c. now) so that 
everyone will believe me when I say that all the stage 
money x^omes from France. 

As an illustration of how you throw the stuff away : I 
was buying some things yesterday, and the proprietress of 
the shop had asked me 40 francs for something I fancied. 
I had already started to dig out the money when a friend 
who was along remarked, "That's sure an awful price to 
ask for that trifle, $7.50." Instantly I caught myself (at 
the thought that in spending francs I was spending real 
money) and back the pocketbook went, and the deal was 
off. Not only that, but I immediately got sore at the idea 
that the woman was overcharging me. But had not my 
friend spoken up, the deal would have gone through with- 
out hesitation. 

And, speaking of food, I have had lots of experience of a 
brand new sort since I have been acting as mess officer. 
As we have a mess sergeant who was in the provision busi- 
ness before he took up arms I have had really a very easy 
time of it. But food will run short sometimes, and un- 
expected things will happen. For instance, some 75 
French infantrymen turned up the other day unexpectedly 
— they assist in the instruction of the American troops — 
after one of our field ranges they had been using had been 
dismantled. Consequently there was nowhere for them 



Helping the Entente 299 

to prepare the food they had brought along already 
cooked, but cold. It was a bitter day, with a sheathing of 
ice on the ground, and letting them eat cold food was out 
of the question. So I had our cooks take charge of the 
French "chow" and put it on our stoves — then lined the 
Frenchmen up and gave each one a steaming cup of coffee 
from a boilerful we had left over from breakfast. Well, 
sir, ever since that incident if I go anywhere near these 
Frenchmen I find myself shortly the center of a circle of 
admiring poilus, and, no matter which way I turn, heels 
click and hands go up in salute beside faces wreathed 
in smiles. Honestly, it seems to me that these men 
actually run around in front of me to get the opportunity 
to smile their gratitude. ' ' It's things like that that count 
in this game," the Colonel advised me when I reported the 
disposition I had made for the Frenchies' comfort. 

American "chow" is greatly prized by the French sol- 
diers at all times, particularly our coffee ; they will jump 
at every chance they can get to sink their teeth into 
American rations — and the American soldier is always 
ready to divide. There is an obvious camaraderie be- 
tween Yank and poilu. 

I am writing this letter in the army officers' Y. M. C. A. 
at [Langres] and am having a very comfortable time of it 
in spite of the dark, gray, drizzly day which is turning the 
streets slowly from sheets of glass to slippery slush outside. 
The officers' Y. M. C. A. is located in an ancient mansion, 
with a duly landscaped garden at its rear, which must 
have been the residence once of some very important folk. 
But latterly it has fallen upon days of shabbiness, and 
what was formerly coldness of splendor in its atmosphere 
has become absolute frigidity, considering the bareness 
of the walls and the scarcity of fuel. Nevertheless, the 
place has certain attractions, chiefly three American girls 
— honest-to-God American girls who can understand 



300 One Who Gave His Life 

what you say to them — who serve you with chocolate 
and taffy (all sorts), and make war seem considerably less 
like what Sherman said it was. One of the three is very 
pretty, and I made quite a hit with her right off the bat by 
assuring her that I hadn't seen anything in France that 
looked as good to me as she — a real American girl. It 
seemed that two young reserve captains had tried to kid 
her the other way 'round by telling her that they had 
mistaken her for a French mademoiselle, and she accepted 
their effort as a sort of back-handed compliment — and 
came and smiled on me. And the two caps got very sore, 
and I enjoyed myself greatly. 

They serve very good chocolate here, and I drank 
considerably more than I wanted just for the pleasure of 
conversing with a girl who could bless my ears with real 
United States kidding while I drank. This idea of having 
companionable young women on hand to keep the officers 
company is pretty good psychology; it certainly lessens 
any attractions which any less respectable female com- 
panionship might have. For the most part, however, you 
don't have either time or energy left for much other 
companionship than your work. 

Well, I must quit here and catch a truck back to the 
fort, or I'll have to walk through some of the rottenest 
road ever. So good by to Dad and yourself for this time. 
Much love. QuiNCY. 



CHAPTER X 

Billeted in a Village — Intimacies of French Life at St. Ciergues — 
A Lone Hand in Running the Company — Gas Masks — Players in 
War — A Company Mascot. 

The next letters report a change of location and a 
change in conditions of life. New work is also indicated 
in the mention of throwing hand grenades. The move 
was made on January 17 to the village of St. Ciergues, a 
typical French farming centre a few kilometers from 
Langres. There was neither fort nor barrack, so the 
battalion was billeted on the homes of the population. 
Mills was quartered in the Hotel Fevre, kept by Madame 
Victorine Delanne. Of the accommodations and the 
cuisine it is not necessary to speak, for Mills enters into 
enthusiastic details. 

During practically all his stay at this place, the Captain 
and all the lieutenants of his company except himself and 
one other were detached for special instruction at the 
school for officers at Gondrecourt in the Vosges. He was 
therefore not only in command, but had much of the 
detailed duty of the platoons to carry on. How he did it 
is indicated in his letter of February 17 with the brevity 
of unconscious modesty. 

As regards the letters which follow, it is proper to point 
out that they contained an increased number of passages 
and allusions which are not to be given here; from the 
time when he began to receive mail from home the inter- 
change naturally involved many matters of a private 

301 



302 One Who Gave His Life 

nature, family business, news of friends and relations and 
other strictly personal interests. These are not repro- 
duced. There are also many mentions of letters and 
cards received from friends, and sundry gifts of smoking 
material, sweet stuff and extra warm clothing. Many 
and hearty thanks for all were sent home by Mills, 
with due specifications, for transmission to the writers 
and senders, likewise explanations and apologies as 
to the impossibility of direct acknowledgment. These, 
also, have been passed over. They would not be in- 
teresting to the general reader and they would occupy 
a good deal of space without furthering the aim of 
the book. The numerous allusions to the late Mr. 
William A. Gramer, the City Hall representative of 
the New York Globe, have been preserved as a special 
case. 

Mr. Gramer, who died, to the great regret of all who 
knew him, on January 23, 1920, was a fellow newspaper 
worker, a comrade and a highly esteemed friend of Mills. 
He was of French descent and it was a matter of deep 
regret to him that his years and his health prevented him 
from going to France to fight. When Mills was getting 
his outfit together before sailing, Mr. Gramer gave him 
a pair of field glasses made in Paris. They were of the 
finest grade ; nothing like them could have been bought in 
New York at the time ; in fact it was hard to buy any sort 
of binoculars. Mr. Gramer also gave him a camp outfit 
consisting of a heavy felt sleeping bag, a fur cap and a fur 
foot warmer. In addition, he constantly sent over sup- 
plies of cigars of the excellent brand he smoked himself. 
Of these, mentions abound in the letters home, as has 
already been seen. Mills told his mother he thought that 
over and above the warm regard between them, Mr. 
Gramer looked upon him as in a sense his own substitute 
on the battlefront. With these explanations, the story 



Luxurious Quarters 303 

may be allowed to go on from Mills's pen, telling of his 
experiences at St. Ciergues: 

January 23, 191 8. 

Dear Mother : Since anything that has a cat on it is 
O. K., according to your notion, I risk inclosing this card. 
Incidentally, I have seen very few cats like the New York 
brand since hitting Europe, but I have found one or two 
who wear Sweet's white shoes and vest. 

I know you will be interested to hear that we have 
moved, and are now enjoying the experience of being 
billeted in a tiny French village. I am very comfortably 
situated in the best hostelry the place affords, with a 
regular bed and an excellent French cook. In almost 
every respect I am much better fixed than I was at the 
fort, and if I could only get some mail I would be just 
about as contented as I could be away from my own 
people. 

It was just two months ago to-day that I left the U. S. 
and it will be a month day after to-morrow since I have 
received any letters. All of us in the company are pretty 
much in the same boat. I hope you have not fared so 
badly with my communiques to you. At any rate, I am 
working so hard that I can't lie awake worrying at night 
over my isolation. We came over here "to beat hell," 
and that's certainly the way I'm working. 

Hoping you and Dad are both well, with lots of love, 

QUINCY. 

The memorandum which follows this note is dated 
January 19, two days after the i68th was billeted 
on St. Ciergues, and it shows the characteristic thorough- 
ness with which Mills handled his company and the 
situation. 



304 One Who Gave His Life 

Company G, i68th Infantry, 
St. Ciergues, France, January 19, 1918. 

Memorandum : 

1 . The men of this company are under no condition to enter 
houses, barns or other private buildings, other than those 
assigned to them as billets. 

2. The hours diiring which they may enter drinking places 
are designated and they will take care not to be in such places 
at other times. 

3. Latrines have been constructed, and the men will see to it 
that there is no pollution of the streets by themselves or visit- 
ing troops. 

4. Men may wash in the compartments of the horse troughs 
farthest from the point where water enters. The troughs are 
usually in three compartments. Use the compartment from 
which the water overflows into the drain. 

5. There will be no smoking or lighting of candles in billets 
in which straw is stored. 

6. Blouses and overcoats must be worn buttoned at all times. 
Overcoat collars will not be turned up at any time. 

By Order of Quincy S. Mills 

2nd Lieutenant, i68th Infantry 
Commanding Co. G. 

Somewhere Else in France, 
[St. Ciergues], 

January 26, 191 8, 

Dear Mother : As I told you in my note of the 23d, 
we have moved, and I am now enjoying the experience of 
being billeted, which is not half bad, by the way. I am 
beginning to believe, too, that there is luck in moving, for 
yesterday's mail brought me the first batch of letters 
I have received since Christmas Day. There was one 
from you, dated December 14, in which you spoke of 
having received my two sailing notes of November 23; 
one from "the same old Bill Gramer" (he is certainly a 



Typical French Village 305 

staunch friend), and a Xmas card from little Alice Morris, 
for whose thoughtfulness you will please express my deep 
appreciation. All this mail was postmarked around 
December 15. That's the way it seems to get here — in 
batches. And the trouble is that most of the batches seem 
to lose their way. What becomes of them the Lord only 
knows, but I am pretty sure they don't all go to Davy 
Jones's Locker. 

As I had noted already in the papers the bitter New 
York weather I was not surprised to read in your letter of 
the stalled Broadway cars under our windows. The most 
amazing thing about your missive was that you didn't 
say a word about the cats in it. Am I to infer that you 
have served them all up en casserole in your effort to 
vanquish old General Hi Cost O'Livin' ? Things have not 
yet come to that pass over here — not on this side of the 
Hindenburg line, at least. 

I hope that you are faring better with the receipt of my 
letters than I am with yours. I figured that mine ought 
to be arriving in Wadsworth Avenue about January i at 
the latest. I hoped you might get the first one by Christ- 
mas. Before I get off the letter subject I will explain that 
I forgot to put the letter number at the head of my last 
letter. It should have been No. 5. 

The "somewhere else" from which I am writing this is 
a quaint old village, the houses of which, seemingly as 
ancient as the land itself, are tucked along under the brow 
of a hill that looks down upon an artificial lake so beautiful 
that it seems to have been put here by the hand of Nature 
instead of man's. Although less rugged this country 
equals the Sapphire country of western North Carolina in 
beauty, and might well rival that locality in name, such 
are the sunset effects upon the rolling bluffs which hem in 
the valley and the others running into it. 

The waters of the lake are confined by a dam which is an 



3o6 One Who Gave His Life 

architectural masterpiece to be classed along with Wash- 
ington and High Bridges, and is not unlike High Bridge 
in general structure. The lake stretches away in front of 
my window, right opposite which the overflow water 
rushes down a spillway, built like a giant's staircase, over 
the steps of which the stream makes a constant roar that 
penetrates my chamber even when the window is closed. 
What surprises me is that no use is made of this water- 
power. The lake is the source of supply for the canal 
system in this section, but it could at the same time 
furnish the power to drive electrical turbines sufficient to 
light all the villages in the vicinity, and they dot the 
valleys everywhere. They are about as primitive as any 
hamlets imaginable. The one in which I am living now is 
probably typical, and it was certainly an unkempt place 
when we struck it. It is inhabited by peasant folk who 
had evidently never bothered to throw any slops farther 
than the door sills from the day the first little stone houses 
grew up with the narrow, rocky streets between them. 

The first capacity in which we hit this place was as street- 
cleaners, and we will surely be able to qualify as "White 
Wings" if we ever strike New York again. We literally 
scraped off the dirt. I exaggerate only slightly when I say 
that had all the rubbish around the venerable cross, rising 
near the principal watering trough, been heaped together, 
the tin cans and other refuse would have hid the relic 
from view. The manure piles overflowed into the streets 
and the waste water from the nimierous stone watering 
troughs mingled with the surplus to form an offensive 
paste very nearly shoemouth deep. All this filth we 
removed; we opened drains that appeared to have been 
clogged for ages, and built new ones; we even succeeded 
in restraining the sacred manure piles, although several 
efforts to secure entire changes of location for the most 
objectionable of them came pretty near to ending in riots. 



A Flood of Mail 307 

For where we cherish bank accounts in the States they 
cherish manure heaps over here, and, from all appear- 
ances, some of the heaps have been handed down from 
generation to generation since the beginning of time. 
When you consider that while we did this cleaning up we 
kept on training, you can appreciate that we have been 
busy from reveille at 5 45 until dark each day. 

While we have not yet got this transformed into a Spot- 
less Town, we can live here without fear of pestilence, and 
we are proud of the job. Because of my busyness will quit 
for this time. 

With much love for Dad and yourself, Quincy. 

January 30, 1918. 

Dear Mother : From all the signs I judge that winter 
is over. When we moved here the face of the earth was 
covered with snow and ice. In a day, almost, the change 
came; in two or three the ice had disappeared from the 
lake and the snow from the hills. Almost overnight 
flannels became oppressive; it is very fatiguing now to 
drill in a coat. 

I had no idea the seasons here were so far ahead of those 
at home. I rather looked for protracted cold. We are 
advised that we will not be bothered in that respect much 
more, but that we may count on a long rainy season to 
set in any day. I continue well; the health of the entire 
organization is remarkably good, in fact. 

Hoping this finds you and Dad both well, with hopes for 
a letter and much love, Quincy. 

February 3, 191 8. 

Dear Mother: This has surely been our big week 
since arriving in France, for it brought us our first real 
mail since Christmas. Wednesday I received seven 



3o8 One Who Gave His Life 

letters from you and three from Dad, of which one had 
also an inclosure from you, and a large number of others, 
including two from dear little Alice Morris and a Christ- 
mas letter from , which I appreciated greatly. And 

then to-day came four more letters from you along with 
several others, and the package of coffee. Right here I 
want to ask you to call up Mr. Luby and thank him for 
The Evening Sun clips. I now have the file up to Decem- 
ber 22, and cannot tell you how much enjoyment it has 
given me. 

I got so many letters in the first batch that it was not 
until Thursday night that I had them all read. I haven't 
much spare time, and whenever I could snatch a minute 
I read a letter until I had finished my mail-bag. The 
Evening Sun extracts I read in the same way, and, coming 
from the old shop, they are just like letters. They will 
occupy me for some time, for I read every line of them, 
and then turn them over and study the ads on their backs. 
All the clippings you inclose I also enjoy greatly. Send 
as many as you think will interest me. I have received 
every letter you had written me down to January lo, and 
am much relieved to know that my letters reached you 
regularly. I feared you might be suffering the same 
interruption that I was, and that you might be worried. 

The Evening Sun clipping regarding Hughes's Bayonet 
interested me, but where they are getting time for such 
activities at Camp Lee I do not know, unless somebody 
is donating the funds to pay for all the work by civilian 
talent. I assure you there is no time or energy for such 
side-lines over here. The idea is a good one for building 
up the morale of the drafted men, and giving them an 
interest in their work, however. 

It was kind of Miss to remember me. Please 

express my appreciation for me for the card. All my 
friends must understand that if I do not have time to write 



French Mistletoe 309 

to them I always have time to think of them. When you 

see Mrs. again tell her I have worn her sweater more 

than any other, and that it sure has kept me warm. 
Although I have been exposed a great deal, and have had 
none too much warmth indoors, I haven't suffered any. 
Of course I might have been more comfortable sometimes, 
but then so might you people back in New York with your 
coal shortage. 

I had a letter of good wishes from Bob Adamson to-day, 
but he did not mention his munitions business venture. 
Mayor Mitchel, I see, is to be an aviation major. Well, 
he used to be able to "aviate" to pretty high altitudes 
when anybody got his goat at City Hall. Here's hoping 
he has much luck in the military branch of that activity. 

I have to thank you for one of the heartiest laughs I 
have enjoyed in a long time at your likening me to Wilson 
"in certain ways." But that's another story, and the 
bugler has just blown taps, so I had better quit for this 
time and go to bed. With much love for both you and 
Dad, and regards for my friends, QuiNCY. 

P.S. Here is a sprig of that French mistletoe which 
bears evidence of its quantity of berries. Q. 

February 7, 1918. 

Dear Mother: I am inclosing a couple of clippings 
which will interest you, I know. You will probably have 
seen already the statement regarding the location of the 
American line on the Lorraine front. Am working very 
hard, but the work is interesting, and the only kick I have 
is that the nights aren't twice as long. I can sleep any 
old time. 

This card gives you some idea of what being billeted is 
like, — except that the natives pictured on it are highly 
idealized. The most attractive of them are the kiddies, at 



310 One Who Gave His Life 

whose clumping around in their sabots I never get tired 
smiHng. So far as I can observe the scarcity of young men 
in this country, it is no more marked than the scarcity of 
young women. As I haven't heard of the RepubHc's 
ordering its Amazons to the trenches, this strikes me as 
remarkable. 

Hoping you folks are happy, and as well as I am, 

QUINCY. 

The card is a picture of the Hotel Fevre with a great 
group of tourists posed in front of it. 

February lo, 1918. 

Dear Dad : I rejoice with you heartily over your good 
news. I appreciate a whole lot your thoughtfulness in 
writing to me, and, of course, you know that my letters 
home to Mother are just as much to you as to her. I have 
written home pretty regularly, this being my chief relaxa- 
tion. I have been away from this place only once since 
arriving for it is necessary to walk some three miles to 
get anywhere, and, besides, I have had my hatful of work. 
For a great deal of the time during recent weeks, I have 
had just about as much work and responsibility as if I had 
been a company commander. The drive has been hard, 
but it has been worth a lot to me in the way of experience. 

Speaking of hatsful of work, we have put on the latest 
style in spring headgear — very appropriately with the 
opening of the season, for the winter is clearly over, and 
has been for three weeks — and the men are greatly tickled 
with the " indestructo " models Uncle Sam has issued to 
them. They refer to them jocularly as "tin hats" — just 
as they called the submarines "tin fish" — and bang each 
other over the head with sticks just to hear the metal ring. 
The helmets, while heavy, are not at all uncomfortable, 
after the first day or so getting used to them. I had 



Up-to-date War Gear 311 

apprehended they might cause headaches, but no one has 
been bothered in that way. You have no idea what an 
improvement in the appearance of the company the hel- 
mets make. They give the ranks a uniformity they could 
never have with the old campaign hats without issuing 
new ones every day. I have never cared for the campaign 
hat and hope it will be abandoned ; it is unpractical, and is 
being discarded over here for fatigue wear in favor of the 
cap cut on the pattern of the French peaked cap. 

All our work is very interesting now, the feature of it I 
like best being the throwing of live grenades. No doubt 
my preference for this feature is that I am considerably 
better than the average at it. If I were in the ranks, I 
would probably be one of some company's crack throwers. 
Of course, I get a lot of diversion, too, out of the pistol and 
rifle shooting, but they are old games in comparison with 
the grenade heaving. I have been having some experience 
with gas masks, also, but will not develop any liking for 
the wearing of these devices. One of them strapped on 
your head makes you feel as if you were in a diving suit. I 
hope we shall not have to wear them much when we see 
service, but in some sectors their use is necessary almost 
constantly. 

This reminds me that I note in to-night's paper that the 
Germans are massing in the Belgian sector. From what 
Lieutenant Nelson says of the British state of prepared- 
ness on this front, behind which he has been at school, 
I haven't much apprehension of their making any 
impression to speak of there. And I understand that 
they will not find conditions any more favorable for them 
anywhere else on the Western front. Personally, it would 
surprise me if an American drive of any magnitude were 
launched this summer, although anything I say is only a 
guess. The French are insistent in the belief that Ger- 
many will not keep up for more than six months, but it 



312 One Who Gave His Life 

seems to me that things may drag along for a couple of 
years before the inevitable end comes. 

Of course the French have a better line on things than 
we Americans have. There are certainly indications of 
Germany's crumbling power which are not to be over- 
looked. For instance, the number of "dead" shells from 
German batteries is said to be constantly increasing, and 
already of such proportions as to be remarkable. Nelson 
says all the Boche ammunition he came into near-personal 
contact with seems to him darned lively, but then he was a 
greenhorn at it. The papers are a great boon to us; for 
instance, if they can print that the American line is on the 
Alsace-Lorraine front, as they have printed, I can discuss 
the matter in my letters. And I know you folks are glad 
to get some sort of line on my whereabouts. 

The news of General Leonard Wood's being wounded 
by shell fire, as printed in the Paris papers, was also most 
interesting to me. I did not even know he was over here, 
and I am wondering what significance his presence has. I 
was sorry to see in Friday's paper that the U-boats got the 
Titscania, but the surprising thing is that they have got so 
few transports. These Paris editions of the American 
papers print news to-day, also, that the Russians have 
refused to sign a separate peace, which would be good 
enough, if true, to offset several transport sinkings. 

I am surprised to note the accounts of Roosevelt's illness. 
What was the matter with his eye? I saw an editorial 
reference to his having lost it, but did not see the account 
of the loss itself. He has lived a mighty, strenuous life, 
and it would not be extraordinary should he go to pieces 
pretty fast now that he has started. 

As to the Blount story about the killing of so many 
Germans by one man, I hardly think it correct, as such an 
incident would have been widely circulated among the 
American forces. It is a fact that when the Germans got 



What the Soldiers Say 313 

in on that detachment of American engineers up on the 
Cambrai front one of our men who was armed only with a 
shovel got two Boches with it before they got him. That 
is the spirit of the men throughout. They are "as con- 
tented," as one of them wrote home, "with living in 
French bams as if they were staying at the Hotel Astor." 
Their letters on the billeting proposition are a constant 
source of diversion to me. "Billet is a society name for 
barn," wrote one. "We are located on the Rue de 
Manure," wrote another. "Every time I get out of bed, 
I have to kick a pig in the slats," said another. "Look 
out for me to be bucking and bellering when I get home," 
warned still another, "for I have been living in a barn until 
I feel like I belong there." "I can feel my ears growing 
longer every day," declared one more. 

They are as cheerful as if they had been used to this sort 
of thing all their lives, although you can hear them ex- 
pounding to each other now and then as to "why the hell 
they must fight the Germans over these French manure 
piles?" I believe I had mentioned already that every 
village in these parts contains a cheese foundry. Well, the 
men got the story started that the inhabitants guard their 
manure piles so zealously because they age their cheese in 
them, and when the French heard this story through the 
medium of the interpreter, they failed to see the joke. 
The men swear that whoever has the biggest manure pile 
in town is made Mayor, and I must say that the Mayor of 
one village I know surely looks it. 

While I would not mind being more luxuriously situated, 
I will consider myself lucky if I never know any lodgings 
more uncomfortable than those I now occupy. If we 
had plenty of fuel and sufficient oil for our lamps I really 
could ask for nothing better. I am getting so used to the 
illumination furnished by my trusty candle that when I 
get back to civiHzation I will be rendered owl-blind by 



314 One Who Gave His Life 

the lights. By the way, while I think of it, you would 
certainly confer a great favor on me if you would mail me 
a box of indelible pencils, something that will stand up. 
The lead of all I have bought over here is rotten. 

We hear that the American Government has decided, at 
last, to treat the German prisoners in the camps back in 
the States AS prisoners, and no longer as star-boarders, 
which news creates great satisfaction in our hearts. It 
is a sign that the country is gradually awakening to the 
fact that it is at war. The case of Secretary-of-War 
Baker absorbs much interest. His testimony regarding 
the complete equipment of all the troops sent over cer- 
tainly created comment. Well, this will have to be all for 
this time. I hope it finds you and Mother as well and as 
cheerful as your last letters left you. My regards to all 
the friends. With much love, Quincy. 

February 13, 191 8. 

Dear Mother : I inclose a copy of our war paper, The 
Stars and Stripes, which may interest you. The box of 
cigars came yesterday, and many thanks to you and Dad 
both. Repeat on it as often as you like. The cigars are 
just the right sort. I would like to write you a letter 
to-night as I have a nice fire going in my big fireplace, but 
there is urgent necessity for my taking another one of 
those bucket baths. 

Much love to both of you, Quincy. 

P.S. Your letter of Jan. 18 just to hand. The in- 
closed clipping showing one of my letters as printed in 
The Evening Sun interests me a whole lot as one of Gen. 
Pershing's orders is: "don't let your people at home 
print your letters in the newspapers." And don't do it 
any more, for it would be just about as hard to identify 
me as the writer of that letter as if my name were printed. 



Censorship 315 

And if there is anything that "Black Jack" is understood 
to mean in these parts it is what he says. Quincy. 

February 17, 1918. 

Dear Mother: I am glad to know that my letters 
have been reaching you uncensored, glad and somewhat 
surprised, too, for I thought maybe the base censor (the 
men whose letters I have to pass upon are of the opinion 
that all censors are base and that I am the basest of the 
lot) might object to some of the stuff I have been writing 
although I could see nothing wrong with it or I would not 
have written it. The only thing I have had interfered 
with was a postcard which I inclose with its return en- 
velope. I was admonished that American soldiers may 
not write postcards to persons in the countries of our 
Allies, although we may write them letters. This seems 
hard to comprehend on its face, for it would seem that 
anyone wishing to transmit information would have less 
trouble doing so in a letter than on a postcard, although 
there must be some sufficient reason for the ruling. 

As to the erasing of the ship's name in the two letters 
you refer to, and the elimination of the dates, especially 
on the note mailed in New York, I did all that myself to 
avoid the possibility of delaying the delivery of my mes- 
sages. So my stuff has been going through untouched. 
I am inclined to believe that the men's mail receives no 
further scrutiny than that which the company officers 
give it, and I can assure you that so far as this company is 
concerned the scrutiny is severe. It is very seldom that 
any man says anything objectionable, but every now and 
then some smart fellow tries to slip one over. 

Your inquiry regarding whether I have wine with my 
meals involves one point on which vigilance must be 
exercised in censoring, for if the men write home that they 
can get anything to drink, and the "White Ribbons" get 



3i6 One Who Gave His Life 

hold of the fact, a certain sanctimonious element will 
raise the howl that our soldiers are being permitted to 
become drunkards. As you know, the sale of champagne, 
cognac, and all highly intoxicating liquors to officers, or 
men of the A.E.F,, has been strictly forbidden, but 
"Red Ink" and beer are permitted within certain hours 
each day. Consequently you may rest assured, since 
you seem so inquisitive on the subject, that I enjoy my 
light wine and beer whenever I feel like it. 

In reference to the prohibition against stronger drinks, 
there is an old saying in the army "you can't beat a 
soldier," but as far as this company is concerned the 
tendency to drink to excess is amazingly small. I have 
been surprised more than I can tell you to find this bunch 
of soldiers, or any bunch of soldiers, as orderly and law- 
abiding as it is. The men got two months' pay at once 
the other day and there was hardly any dissipation worth 
mentioning. The same holds true regarding their morals 
in general. This is a record to be proud of. I do not 
beheve that all the soldiers the United States sends over 
will do as well as these, but I do believe that the men of 
this company will continue to live according to their past 
high standard. 

You remember I always spoke highly of these men to 
you, and the longer I am associated with them the better 
I think of them. The Sergeant you liked so much, 
Koester, is still as much of a favorite with me as ever. He 
has been off to a special training school and is likely soon 
to be commissioned a Second Lieutenant, as he deserves to 
be, although the company will lose in him a Sergeant that 
it cannot replace. He is one of the best soldiers in the 
company, and his parents being of German birth bitterly 
opposed his entering the army to fight against their 
' ' Fatherland. ' ' There is no question of his loyalty, either, 
so you see German-Americans are not all bad. 



Importance of Lieutenants 3i7 

The Captain, Lieutenants Younkin, Rubel, Nelson and 
Pearsall have just returned from special school — quite an 
extended one, so you may rest assured that I have had 
my hands full. Although I did not go to school I did 
not lose anything in the way of experience. And the 
Captain was pleased with the condition of the company 
when he returned, too. Lieutenant Millikin and myself 
will get a course of schooling later, but I would prefer to 
have some experience at the real thing first. I am sure 
that the benefit would be much greater in the long run. 

You need not worry about me, for I am not Hkely to 
undergo any great or real danger for some time. Indeed, 
it would surprise me very much if any extensive Ameri- 
can offensive should be launched this summer, for several 
reasons, although this is merely a guess, and is not to be 
interpreted as meaning anything. I can say, though, 
that we are looking for the much heralded German drive, 
and I assure you we are ready for it on this side of the 
Hindenburg line. I note in the Paris papers that an 
offensive against Rumania is reported, and it wouldn't 
surprise me greatly if this should be the next thing to 
develop. Success will be easier there, and success is 
necessary to keep up the spirit of the German people. 

Regarding my personal experience since I have been 
over here, I will say that while two silver bars are more to 
be cherished than one gold or silver one for your shoulder, 
rank is largely a relative matter, below the grade of 
Major particularly. Owing to the development of modern 
warfare, good lieutenants are more essential to a company 
than a good captain. I am happy to say that a real liking 
has grown up between Lieutenant Nelson and myself. 
There is in him a sort of "excellent dumb discourse," as 
Bill Shakespeare says, which is satisfying. He has less 
to say than any other of the officers in the company 
and the men like him better than anyone else. 



3i8 One Who Gave His Life 

By the way, he tells of a little experience while up on 
the British front which I know will interest you. Toward 
dusk one day, when everything had been quiet, he climbed 
out on the edge of a first-line trench, just to look the 
scenery over. Well, he had not been down off the parapet 
more than ten seconds before a string of bullets from a 
Boche machine gun whined through the atmosphere he 
had been displacing. The British sentry gave him a horse 
laugh, and he is now a firm advocate of my "keep your 
head down" policy. 

You asked me some time ago about knitting things for 
me. My present supply should last me, according to my 
present rate of consumption, through another four years of 
war, but, of course, I may never see again the stuff that I 
have to store through the summer. Therefore, if you will 
send me a sweater and helmet in time for cold weather this 
fall it may be a wise precaution. You ask about the most 
useful things to send, these are sweaters, helmets and 
socks. Also, if some means could be devised of knitting 
gloves of hard coarse wool they would be a great boon to 
the enlisted men who wear out more gloves than they can 
get. The wristlets do not afford the protection necessary. 
They are great to wear over gloves to keep the wind from 
sneaking up the sleeves, but the gloves are necessary in the 
first place. The knitted scarfs are not very practical. 

In sending things to our men over here one great want is 
being almost totally overlooked. It is candy. You have 
no idea how the men crave it. I believe that even those 
that smoke would often take it in preference to tobacco. 
Sweets are extremely scarce and the prices asked for them 
are prohibitive. Anyone who started a candy fund would 
confer the greatest boon I know of on the American sol- 
diers. Any kind of candy, the very cheapest sort that 
comes in buckets, the broken sticks, you know, would be 
devoured greedily. I hope you will get this into print 



Cry for Candy 3i9 

anonymously, as coming from one who knows. Take 
up the matter with the ' ' Red Cross ' ' and any other people 
who are interested in the comfort of our men overseas. 
While the " Doc " Peases object to giving to tobacco funds, 
I do not beUeve anyone would object to giving to a candy 
fund. 

The last letter of yours I have received is No. 7, so I am 
still shy letters 5 and 6. I suppose they will be along in 
due season. Speaking of seasons, your idea that France is 
eternally sunny will be further jarred when I inform you 
that we are just entering on a rainy period which we are 
told will last from four to six weeks. I am prepared for it 
with my heavy boots and shoes, and waterproof coat, so 
you need not worry. Well, I will have to quit for this 
time; I have made quite a letter of it, and guess you need 
a rest anyway. With lots of love for both of you, and 
regards to the friends, Quincy. 

February 24, 191 8. 

Dear Mother : Old Man Winter is playing the same 
sort of trick on us that he usually plays over in the United 
States. He is coming back for a httle return trip after 
foohng us into thinking he's on his way. Fine crisp 
weather for working, though, and hope it lasts. 

Quincy. 

February 24, 1918. 

Dear Mother : I have been so busy lately writing in 
answer to your letters that I have neglected to tell you a 
lot of things about my life here. 

I have been Hving in the best room of a little inn run by 
a Mme. Delanne who is, I beHeve firmly, the best cooker 
of French fried potatoes in France. In fact, it wouldn't 
surprise me at all to learn that she had invented the dish 



320 One Who Gave His Life 

and been decorated with the Legion of Honor therefor. 
Her hot chocolate is equally fine, and we consume great 
quantities of both. She prepares our officers' mess, the 
provisions being supplied by us, and each of us pays her a 
franc a day for her services. We have worked her nearly 
to death feeding us. At meal time it is one continuous 
yell of "Madame, pommes de terre tout de suite, s'il vous 
plait !" and "Madame, chaud chocolat tout de suite, s'il 
vous plait!" 

It didn't take her a day to name us "tout de suite 
Americans" because we want everything right on the dot. 
Her regular reply when we ask for anything is "Voila, 
messieurs, tout de suite, a la minute!" 

We don't always get it on the minute, but then we 
demand a great deal. She has taken mighty good care of 
us, looking out for our laundry and all our personal wants 
and putting herself out to make us as comfortable as 
possible. 

To go back to her pommes de terre, she fries them in a 
deep bath of cocoa butter, and in an old-fashioned iron 
kettle suspended over an open fire by a crane, in a great 
fireplace of the sort you see now only in pictures, over 
home. Some of her cooking she does on a small range, but 
I notice that whenever she wants to prepare anything 
particularly nice she goes to the old open fireplace. 
There's no doubt about the fact that there is a flavor about 
open fireplace cookery which modern culinary inventions 
cannot supply. 

It is quite an experience to live in these old houses, with 
their ancient open fireplaces and also to sleep in these 
French beds. They are like our old four-posters without 
the posts, and every one of them has on top of it a great 
down pillow as wide as the bed, and reaching from your 
feet to your neck, which surely keeps in the heat. These 
pillows are usually made of red silk, and are stuffed to the 



A la Francaise 321 

thickness of about a foot. They and the beds are evi- 
dently heirlooms which have, to all appearances, been 
handed down in each family from the time of Joan of Arc. 
There is hardly a room, either, in which there is not either 
a picture or a statuette of Joan. There is a statuette a 
foot high on the dresser in front of which I am now writing. 
There is also a diminutive shrine in every sleeping apart- 
ment, with a crucifix and a rosary, for the population is 
almost entirely Roman Catholic. 

Also, an essential of every chamber in every house in 
France seems to be at least one clock, the more ornate the 
better, which positively will not run under any conditions. 
Many of these timepieces are of the ' ' grandfather ' ' variety 
and of such remote antiquity, judging from all appear- 
ances, as to make our American heirlooms seem infantile in 
comparison. Of antique chests and wardrobes there is 
the greatest profusion. With the exception of a few iron 
beds I haven't seen a piece of really new furniture in a 
single house I have entered. Naturally the men view 
these French people as hopelessly behind the times, and 
as greatly inferior to us Americans. 

As to the French manner of living we have come in 
contact with, it was pretty well described by our chief 
cook who said to me the day we moved into our village : 
"Lieutenant, I had to chase an old woman and her ducks 
out of house and home to get a place for our kitchen." 
That's about the size of it. The animals and fowl are 
members of the family, and it is no unusual thing for a 
dwelling to be built to house the human contingent in one 
end, and the rest at the other. It looks queer to see right 
alongside the front door a small door in the stone wall 
through which the chickens and ducks pass in and out. 
All the walls are of stone. I haven't seen a frame resi- 
dence since landing in France . And where the roofs are not 
of tile they are of stone too. In the small towns, stone 



322 One Who Gave His Life 

shingles, chipped from a slaty sort of rock common in this 
region, are the regular thing. I don't believe they would 
know over here what a wooden shingle was. The weight 
of these stone roofs must be enormous, but if you go inside 
and take a look at the timbers supporting them you 
understand why the buildings do not collapse. These 
hewn rafters remind me of the sort of material of which 
the frame of our old home at Statesville is made. 

For water supply there are numerous fountains in the 
smaller towns, and in the cities too, although the latter 
have regular systems of waterworks also. In every 
municipality there is at least one public wash house for 
cleaning clothes. It consists of a shallow stone basin, 
some 25 by 50 feet, holding about a foot of water which is 
kept always clear by plenty of inlets and outlets and a 
copious flow. The stone sides of the basin are sloped at 
the washboard angle and the washerwomen scrub the 
soiled clothes right on the smooth surface of the rock. 
They do mighty nice jobs, too, I find. Over each wash 
house there is a roof, but there is never any provision for 
fire, and the laundresses' work looked cruelly cold this 
winter. 

Everything is built of stone ; you might think that there 
never had been any other building material in France. 
And when you come in personal contact with the careful 
conservation of the forests over here you understand why. 
You know there is a saying that if you kill a * ' nigger ' ' in 
Georgia nobody cares, but kill a "cracker's" razorback 
hog and you will be lynched. Well, if you chop down a 
sapling as big as your wrist over here in France you are 
certainly in danger of judgment, and from the way about 
forty Frenchmen start to chattering at you about it you 
think you're in danger of hell fire. You may think no- 
body sees you make the raid, but before you get through 
you find that everybody in the whole department must 



Fine Forestry 323 

have been looking at you. Naturally these people have to 
be careful of their forests. If they had not watched them 
for generations there would be no wood at all. As it is, 
the frequency with which you see wooded sections is 
surprising. It is a pity that the Americans cannot 
exercise a little foresight, and prevent the destruction of 
the forests in our country. 

There is considerable game here, too. You see great 
flocks of wild ducks, and although the wild boars keep 
under cover there are freshly uprooted sections of turf on 
our drill ground every day showing that they have been 
feeding there overnight. Every now and then I see a 
bear's carcass hung out at a butcher's shop, and I hope to 
get a taste of the meat sometime. 

Well, enough for this time. Much love to Dad and 
yourself, and regards to all the rest. Quincy. 

February 27, 1918. 

Dear Mother: When you cast your eyes on the 
smaller of the two pictures inclosed herewith I know you 
will remark: "What chance have the Huns, anyway?" 
But the larger card will afford the necessary comic relief. 
My friend, Sol Rubel, and I certainly look like the Star 
Low Comedy Duo, or as if we had been up to some devil- 
ment or other — and maybe we had. For life is not all one 
monotonous grind, by any means. 

Never before laying my eyes on this larger picture 
had I suspected myself of being so thoroughly British, 
but those legs convict me fully and finally. And the cap, 
being of the British army general model, adds to the effect. 

This is the first opportunity I have had to send a picture 
home, but I hope I may be able to do better in the future. 
I would appreciate a picture of you and Dad. 

Much love, Quincy. 



324 One Who Gave His Life 

The photographs were small and very unflattering like- 
nesses of himself and Lieutenant Rubel. In the smaller 
ones, taken separately, both looked quite unnecessarily 
grim and threatening. The larger one shows them to- 
gether, wreathed in smiles. 

March 3, 1918. 

Dear Mother: Here is a programme which I think 
will interest you. I went to see the Httle French farce at 
one of those Theatres des Poilus you have read about. The 
male contingent of the stage folk was made up of soldiers; 
the actresses must have been of the best in France for the 
play was done as well as the best you see on Broadway. I 
am sorry to say that there was very little of the plot I 
could make out, but the acting was sufficiently vivacious 
to keep my attention. Besides, two of the actresses were 
unusually easy to look at besides being real artists. 

I had the pleasure of having dinner in the same dining 
room with the players before the show and the meal was 
as good as the play. The members of the cast certainly 
had a good time, and everyone else had a good time watch- 
ing them. You would never have thought, had you not 
known, that these people were citizens of a country 
engaged in the fiercest war in history. I understand that 
the actors of established reputation while required to 
render military service are not exposed to the greatest 
danger. The men who took part in this performance are 
employed driving trucks along the lines of transportation. 
The musical part of the program was rendered, you will 
note, by the i68th Regiment, but not our i68th. Oddly 
enough both the American and French regiments of this 
number are located in this same section. 

The audience at this soldiers' play consisted of people 
from the town as well as soldiers, and I was struck at 
the remarkable resemblance of the civilians to our own 



La Belle France 325 

people. Had I been deaf so that I might not have been 
tipped off by the foreign tongue in which they chattered, 
I might have taken them for Americans. The price of 
admission for the performance was three francs, and it was 
about as well invested as any money I have spent in 
France. I find that I can get as much out of the French 
movies as I do out of those at home, for I can read easily 
the explanatory sentences projected on the screen in 
French as you have them in English. Thus far I have 
been unable to find any of the weekly film reviews of the 
news, however, and I miss these greatly. The price 
of the movies is twenty-five centimes, or about five 
cents. 

While on this show subject I might mention the fact 
that often as I have sat watching the fog rising over the 
lake in front of my window I have thought of those stage 
fogs we used to see at the Metropolitan and the Man- 
hattan. I surely have grand opera scenery all around me, 
so much of it, that somehow the whole life in which I am 
moving seems unreal and dreamlike. The longer I remain 
here the more firmly convinced I am that this is the most 
beautiful country in the world. Yet this is not the best 
part of France. The ground is very rocky and unproduc- 
tive. I have seen fields in which I believe fully three 
quarters of the matter turned by the plow was stony, 
running all the way from pebbles to pieces of flint as big as 
your fist. How anything ever grew on it I do not see. 
The people raise many cattle, and cheese foundries are 
the principal industries except in certain centres. 

I visited a glass factory and saw the blowers at work 
making everything from lamp chimneys to champagne 
glasses and decanters. In another building skilled work- 
men were finishing cut glass products. Most of the em- 
ployees were women and girls. There wasn't a man in 
the place fit for military service. The male portion of the 



326 One Who Gave His Life 

working force consisted of young boys, or men too old to 
stand the work in the trenches. 

I sent you a card several days ago remarking that Old 
Man Winter, after having to all appearances departed, 
had decided to pay us a return visit, and this reminds me 
to remark on something I had intended to mention all 
winter: the fashion in which the kiddies run around 
barelegged, even in the bitterest weather. The Scotch 
kilties have nothing on these French kiddies in respect to 
bare shanks. I cannot tell you how funny one of these 
diminutive urchins looks cavorting around in the snow 
with a pair of sabots, each one nearly as large as his head, 
hung on to pipe stem legs, which you eye with the expecta- 
tion of seeing them broken short off by the tonnage of 
sabot, at any minute. Even the big fifteen-year-old boys 
go barelegged thus. But I might mention that, while the 
legs of young France are slender, there must be a sudden 
expansion all at once around the twentieth year, for never 
have I seen sturdier underpinning than that which sup- 
ports France's soldiery. There must be something ex- 
ceedingly invigorating about that fresh air treatment for 
the shins. 

I have had it in my mind also, many times, to tell you 
about our latest company mascot, a dog, of course. He 
was donated to us by a Major back from the front who 
found himself suddenly saddled with a roving commission 
which rendered keeping a dog impossible. So we got the 
pup, a diminutive black ball, just about the size to fit 
in your pocket, and he was ensconced in the guard house, 
that being the only place where there was a fire constantly 
going, and there was no danger of his being frozen to death. 
As he hung out at the guard house he was known as ' ' the 
guard house bum," the term applied to the soldier who 
is always under lock and key. This, shortened for con- 
venience sake, gives our mascot's name: Bum. He has 



Universal Favorite 327 

grown astonishingly fast, and is already large enough to be 
always where he has no business, to be stealing shoes, 
leggings and other equipment, and making himself the life 
of the company generally. He swarms into everything 
everywhere with the result that he usually resembles an 
animated mudpie more than a dog, but when the weather 
gets warmer and we can wash him, we can correct that. 
He has an uncontrollable inquisitiveness regarding, but a 
wholesome respect for cats. Altogether he is some dog, 
and is about the first of his kind I have been genuinely 
attached to, although I must admit he has given my dig- 
nity some rude knocks. On more than one occasion at 
retreat — a very solemn function — when I have been 
standing rigidly at salute during the playing of the Star 
Spangled Banner, and the company equally rigid at present 
arms behind me, he has come sailing out of the kitchen and 
cut circles around my legs and yipped at me, thereby send- 
ing a titter down the entire line and all but breaking up the 
ceremony. I venture to say that he would be missed, if 
lost, more than any other one member of the company, not 
excepting the Captain. He is spoiled, in a canine way, 
worse than your Sweet Cat. I hope we do not lose him. 

I am going on the last cigars of that box Dad sent me, 
so you can repeat just as often as is convenient. The men 
who write home for tobacco are divided about half-and- 
half in declaring, the one that this French tobacco is so 
strong it would knock a mule down, and the other that the 
darn stuff is so weak you can't tell you are smoking it. 
Personally, I have got some very good tobacco here, but 
then I prefer the home cigars, and I have a notion that 
half the satisfaction I get out of them is in receiving them. 
You have no idea how much the receipt of mail means to 
all of us. Somehow there has been another jam in the 
mail service, and we have not had anything from home 
to speak of in a fortnight. The package from Mrs. 



328 One Who Gave His Life 

containing the cigars and the diary came, however, as a 
very pleasant surprise on Washington's Birthday, and I 
sat down at once and wrote her a note thanking her. 

The cHpping from Le Matin which I enclose about New 
York's practice of self-denial may be exactly according to 
facts, but, knowing New Yorkers as I do, I have my doubts 
as to whether they are visiting upon themselves any such 
frightfulness in the way of self-denial as is here outlined. 
Certainly the people over here do not seem to have found it 
necessary to deny themselves greatly. There is plenty to 
eat for all, and the prices are by no means prohibitive. 
For instance, eggs bring from four to five francs a dozen, 
which is about the price they were fetching in New York 
when I left. 

The news is very boring lately, there being nothing 
happening worth telling up front so far as the papers we 
see indicate. The Russian situation keeps progressing 
from bad to worse, until I cease to have any opinion 
whatever regarding it. The one thing developed by it 
thus far seems to be that making peace with Kultur is 
equivalent to being conquered by Kultur. 

Hoping that this finds all well, with much love for Dad 
and yourself, Quincy. 

March 6, 1918. 

Dear Mother : Just at the last minute before closing 
my letter of the 3rd, I received the three pictures I in- 
closed. Here are three more. The groups include all of 
us officers at this place. They are very good indeed, I 
think. You will note that the pictures show us in two 
different gas masks. We are supplied with the most 
complete anti-gas equipment that has been furnished to 
any troops in the war, so we are protected in that respect 
as well as we can be. 



Gas Boomerang 329 

If properly used this protection is absolutely sure. 
Therefore you needn't lose any sleep over the dreaded gas. 
Because of their lack of material the Germans have a mask 
which furnishes them wholly inadequate protection, which 
explains their present agitation for the elimination of this 
"inhuman" means of warfare — that and the fact that 
experience has proved that weather conditions favor us 
six times in the use of gas to once for them. So they will 
get plenty of their own medicine in the long run. 

Love, QuiNCY. 

The pictures enclosed were photographs of nine offi- 
cers of the Company, including himself, wearing their gas 
masks. They are shown standing on a stone bridge. It is 
hard to say whether the effect is more comical or grue- 
some. Needless to say, all are totally unrecognizable. 

Apropos of his mention in the letter of March 3, of 
attending a show at one of the Theatres des Poilus, Mills 
also spoke in a letter to Mrs. John Morris, a friend and 
neighbor of the family, of the French soldiers at a motion 
picture play. He said: "The audience was composed 
entirely of soldiers, mostly French. They romped like 
children — or kittens — in the bright moonlight outside 
after the show. I have never seen anything to equal the 
gayety of these poilus. They seem never to have heard of 
worry. One of the films last night was a John Bunny 
feature. It made me feel queer to watch the acting of a 
man who has been dead two years." 



CHAPTER XI 

Real War — The i68th Goes into the Trenches at Badonviller — 
Experiences under Fire — Fighting and Resting — Marvels of 
Civilian Courage. 

Somewhere in France [Badonviller], March 15, 1918. 

Dear Mr. Luby : Well, we're just back from doing our 
first ' ' hitch in hell ' ' and I assure you I have plenty to write 
about. No hairbreadth escapes for myself, to speak of, 
although I know what the smash of a shrapnel shell explo- 
sion feels like when it drives the air up against your body, 
and how the spatter of the shrapnel charge sounds lighting 
all around you. Also, I can assure you that there is noth- 
ing pleasant about the whine of a sniper's bullet, much like 
the noise made by an angry hornet, penetrating inquisitive- 
ly into the trench atmosphere in your immediate vicinity. 

My company was extremely fortunate in suffering 
no casualties worse than a few wounded, but this does not 
detract from the fact that the men bore themselves like 
veterans. Their only regret on coming out was that they 
hadn't had the opportunity to come in personal contact 
with Fritz. There is no doubt about the fighting quality 
of the American soldier. We were sent in to get our first 
experience in a "quiet" sector. It was quiet when we 
went in — now it very closely resembles a hornet's nest 
into which someone has poked a sharp stick. When the 
Boches found there were Americans there they undertook 
to pull off a raid similar to the one described in the Satur- 
day Evening Post of December 29, 191 7, under the caption 

330 



Trench Raiding 331 

of ' ' The First Raid. ' ' If you didn 't read that story get it 
and read it. So far as it goes, it is identical with the 
official report, excepting of course the incidents culled by 
the writer from the wounded in the hospital. The thing 
that amazed me was that the printing of so much of the 
truth was permitted. 

Artillery support was lacking for our men in that first 
raid; this time it wasn't, and the Huns not only got no 
prisoners but suffered severe punishment. Then, in a day 
or so, we "put on a show" — as army parlance goes for 
starting a fight, just to show them that whenever they 
start anything with American troops they can expect 
better than they send. For every shell they sent over 
in their attack, they got back at least five. It is no 
exaggeration to say that their front line in this sector was 
literally mashed to pieces, so completely annihilated by 
great shells that the Huns have made no attempt at 
reconsolidation, but have simply withdrawn for some 300 
yards depth on a considerable front. 

During this fight, as during our stay at the front, I was 
on the battalion staff, and I had the good fortune to be 
able to witness the whole show from the top floor of head- 
quarters. From the window on one side of the mansion 
used as a headquarters building I could see, by the aid of 
my field glasses, the havoc being wrought by our shell fire, 
and from the windows on the other side I could see the 
effect of the German shell on our own batteries — or where 
they thought our batteries were. You have heard that 
the Germans' powder is now of inferior quality; I can 
testify that this is true, for I believe that full 50 per cent 
of the shells that hit among our batteries were "duds," or 
failed to explode. Their shells were striking about 300 
yards from headquarters, and I could see clearly when 
they struck and when they failed to explode ; a detachment 
of engineers was busy all the next morning setting off the 



332 One Who Gave His Life 

"duds." As further proof of the poor quaUty of German 
ammunition, out of a series of twelve shots which I 
counted while they were being fired at a French airplane, 
one afternoon while I was in the trenches, only three 
exploded. The Frenchman flew low over the Hun posi- 
tions, and didn't seem to pay any attention at all to the 
fire directed at him. 

The noise of the bombardment was an exceedingly excit- 
ing thing to a freshman at war. Right behind us the 75s 
were barking viciously all the time; the machine gun 
barrage went over us, and there is no sound quite as wicked 
as that made by machine gun bullets cracking like millions 
of whips in the air overhead ; from away back to the rear 
came the thunder of the great guns pumping away in a 
steady roar that made the walls rock and the windows 
rattle as if they were going to fall out. The sound of 
heavy artillery in a bombardment is more like the steady 
pulsating of a great ship's engine than anything else I can 
think of ; it has the same resolute thrust and drive ; there is 
something intoxicating about it; there is nothing else 
which can inspire the men with confidence so much. 

But don't think I was observing things from absolute 
safety. Shrapnel burst all around us during the bombard- 
ment, felling one French soldier in the street before head- 
quarters. And a German airman flew up and down over 
us sprinkling the streets with his machine gun ; unfortu- 
nately for him he ran across the line of sights of one of our 
machine guns as he started home, and his machine landed 
in flames just back of his front line. For my part, head- 
quarters was just about the last place I wanted to be when 
there was a show on, but I always had to report there 
forthwith. The afternoon I walked into the remains of 
the town in which our headquarters were located, a big 
German shrapnel shell burst where the housetops had 
been, about 100 yards ahead of me. It was one of five 



Under Fire 333 

with which the Huns repeated their "registration" on 
headquarters, just to remind us that they had it down pat. 
Everybody fully expected the headquarters building to be 
wiped off the map every time anything started, and the 
amazing thing is that it is still standing untouched, for the 
Huns know its exact use as well as its exact location. 

The town in which it stands, about half a mile back of 
the lines, has been about half destroyed by shell fire. I 
could not accustom myself to seeing a civilian population 
there, the women going about their household tasks as if 
nothing unusual were happening, and only ducking in- 
doors when a burst of shrapnel let go a little closer than 
usual, and the children trotting daily to school in a build- 
ing, the windows of which are barricaded with logs against 
shell splinters. But most of the civilians had moved out 
by the time we lef t ; a number of houses were hit during 
our occupancy, and everybody expects the rest of the town 
to be razed by German guns now that it is sheltering 
Americans who raise so much trouble. The last night I 
was there, a big shell let loose so close to the building in 
which I was bunked that the concussion raised me right up 
off my bunk, and a similar dainty calling card dropped 
right at the corner of the house the next morning just be- 
fore we left. We are now in reserve in a town further 
back, but still within shell range. By the time you get 
this we will be back in our divisional area again getting 
ready for our next hitch. 

One of the greatest worries up front is gas. The Ger- 
mans make little use of cloud gas in this region, but they 
are always sending over bursts of gas shells. One burst 
in the road about twenty yards ahead of me the day I 
went up front, close enough to spatter mud on me. But it 
wasn't close enough to get the gas to me before I had my 
respirator on. 

The soldier is required to be able to put on his anti-gas 



334 One Who Gave His Life 

paraphernalia in six seconds. I got mine on in about 6-l0 
of a second, and by the time the second was up had high- 
balled it into a friendly dugout. That was about the only 
time I put in in a dugout while the shells were popping up 
front, but take my word for it I had to conquer an almost 
irresistible impulse to duck into every dugout I passed on 
my way to headquarters (and no dugout) whenever there 
was a show on. I was twice slightly gassed, but suffered no 
serious effects either time. I inclose three pictures which 
may interest you. In one of the groups we are wearing our 
French gas masks; in the other we have the English box 
respirators up at the alert position ready to put on in the 
six seconds I mentioned. 

Please forward this letter to my Mother, for her to read 
as soon as you have finished reading it, but do not send her 
the pictures as I intend these for you . I have mailed others 
to her already. 

I see by the papers that Secretary Baker is over paying 
us a visit. I hope he will see things just as they are, and 
will make an exact statement regarding them on his return. 
He will find soldiers to be proud of, men who deserve the 
fullest equipment and preparation possible in order that 
they may make the most of the will to fight with which 
they are unquestionably inspired. 

I have received from home copies of several of my letters 
printed in The Evening Sun, but suppose that before this 
reaches you my letter will be received requesting that no 
more of my letters be printed, and stating the reason 
for the request. 

Give my regards to all. Hoping this finds you all feel- 
ing as fine as I do after sixteen hours' sleep I enjoyed last 
night on "coming out," Mills. 

In the last five letters included in the foregoing chapter, 
those of February 24 and after, Mills had been resorting 



A Matter of Dates 335 

to a benevolent camouflage. They read as if they were 
written at St. Ciergues, Hke their predecessors and amid 
the comparative peace of the training period. In reahty, 
the battalion had left the village on February 19, had 
reached the fighting front, had been in combat, had under- 
gone the experiences described in the letter just given, and 
was safely back in the rear for rest and recovery after its 
first tour of duty on the front lines. 

Just what the mental process was which led Mills to this 
course, it is not easy to figure out, for he must have known 
that if anything happened to him, his parents would be 
notified, while by no means could letters telling of his move 
to the front reach them before that first period of acute 
peril was over. There is no use speculating on the point ; 
his motive was unquestionably kindly; probably, when he 
wrote, he felt so near to home and kindred that the 
details of the time factor did not impress themselves 
on his consciousness. At any rate, even in breaking 
the news directly to his parents he took the method 
of gradual approach as the three succeeding notes will 
show: 

March 10, 191 8. 

Dear Mother: Only time for a note now. Your 

letter of Feb. 2 and one from came to-day. Also 

two from "the same old Bill Gramer," saying that he had 
started a package of smokables on its way to me. Guess 
it will be in soon. 

Am having some interesting experiences to write you 
about later. If this paper smells of powder, not the 
talcum sort, do not be surprised or alarmed, for I will be 
a good many miles from the line long before you receive 
this missive. 

Love to all, 

QUINCY. 



336 One Who Gave His Life 

March 13, 191 8. 

Dear Mother : Within a few days I hope to be able to 
write you more in detail regarding some highly interesting 
experiences up here at the front line. Our sector was 
quiet — when we got here, but we sure stirred things up. 
Friend Fritz tried to start something, but got a dam sight 
more than he sent. 

We will be back in our previous location for some time. 
It will seem a little odd not to see air fights, and hear artil- 
lery working all the time. 

Haven't had any hairbreadth escapes, but haven't been 
in what you might term exact safety, by any means. 

Love for Dad and yourself, Quincy. 

The following dated March 15 with its enclosure dated 
March 10 and its explanation make clear his intention 
and his plan. After this, there was no more attempt to 
maintain false confidence. His proximity to danger once 
revealed had to be taken for granted as a constant factor. 

March 15, 1918. 

Dear Mother : Here's a letter which I wrote with the 
full intention of taking it up front and sending it from 
there, so that you would not miss hearing from me 
regularly ; and then I had to rush off in such a hurry, being 
sent off on almost no notice a day ahead of the company, 
that I left this letter in my trunk ! 

I send it now at the same time that I am sending a 
letter to Mr. Luby, descriptive of some of my experiences 
of recent days. I am asking him to forward it to you as 
soon as he reads it, and I suppose it will hardly be neces- 
sary to ask you to make a copy of it. Please pardon me 
for not sending you this letter first, but I feel that I owe 
him such a letter, and I do not want to repeat all that I 
say in it in another letter to you. Time's too scarce. 



Lamentable Mails 337 

I am very well indeed, having enjoyed sixteen hours' 
sleep last night to enable me to catch up what I had lost in 
the nine nights previous. Hope this finds you and Dad 
well, also the Morrises and other friends. 

QUINCY. 



[The Enclosure] 



March lo, 191 8. 



Dear Mother: I have just received your letters of 
January 13 and 15, all the more welcome for their being 
nearly two months old. I am sorry to note that, from 
your reference to the passage of a fortnight between the 
receipt of letters from me, the mail service in your direc- 
tion is also far from all that could be desired. For my part, 
I have long ago ceased to look for mail. When I get it I 
am just ahead that much more than I expected. I 
realize that the difficulties of transportation are great, but 
I do believe that the army mail service could be greatly 
improved at no additional cost, and no improvement 
could contribute more to the contentment of the men. 

I am glad you sent me the enclosure from and 

I am surprised to learn of his intention of entering the aero 
service. I am not well enough acquainted with the de- 
mands of an observer to judge his fitness for the work. If 
he undertakes it I hope he will find himself able to render 
useful service there. Candidly, I do not see that at the 
present stage of the game, it is incumbent upon a man in 
his position to quit the support of his family. The aero 
service is hazardous, as you know, although much less 
so in the observation than in the combat branch, and he 
should be sure that his family will be well provided for in 
the future if he goes into it. 

Many thanks for your solicitude, but there is nothing 
that I can think of in addition to the cigars which you 



338 One Who Gave His Life 

need send me. Of the necessities of life we have sufficient, 
and of some of the luxuries too. One of these I might 
mention is French chocolate, which owes its particularly 
delicious flavor, possibly, to the fact that they make it al- 
ways in heavy earthenware vessels. You might try this in 
making cocoa or chocolate, and see if there is any difference. 
After making a supply of chocolate the French cook places 
it in an enameled ware receptacle to keep it hot, but the 
actual preparation is always in an earthen dish. 

To get back to the cigars, I will thank you in advance 
now for the second box, which will probably arrive just 
about the time my present supply gives out. Which 
means, of course, that the dispatching of the third box, 
and then the fourth, etc., etc., will be in order after the 
receipt of this letter. 

The clipping of 's work which you sent interests 

me, but I am glad I am not over here to write stuff about 
the war while it is going on. After it is over will be time 
enough for that. War corresponding is done almost 

entirely second-hand, and I doubt if will see any real 

action. If I chance to meet him, I will congratulate him 
on having joined the "Deep Dugout brigade," an appel- 
lation relished by those to whom it is applied just about 
as much as * ' slacker ' ' is. 

This reminds me that we are having quite a laugh on 
Lieutenant Rubel, because he is in receipt of a draft board 
notice that has been forwarded to him all the way from the 
United States summoning him peremptorily to appear and 
be examined for military service, and giving him large 
chunks of hell for not having presented himself sooner. 
We call him "The Slacker." 

Your tentative suggestion that I may have celebrated 
my birthday with wine and song, but without the women 
was a very safe hazard. The women aren't — not in this 
province — although I have been given to understand by 



Longing for a Drive 339 

more experienced veterans who have been camping in 
France ever since September that it is possible to find very 
pleasant company in the larger cities further south. Paris 
is forbidden to American soldiers and officers alike for the 
reason that everybody wanted to swarm there, so it may 
be that I may not be able to go there for some time. But 
other places are spoken of as being fine cities to spend 
furloughs in, Nice in particular, so I will not be at a loss 
for somewhere to go when the opportunity presents itself. 
I have a notion that it may be some time, however, before 
I get that opportunity. Each officer and soldier is sup- 
posed to get ten days' leave after each four months of for- 
eign service, unless the exigencies of the service prevent. 

I have a notion that such exigencies are likely to arise. 
If the Boches start that drive with which von Hindenburg 
is going to "end the war in three months," there won't be 
many furloughs for awhile, but we are hoping the drive 
starts, for the harder the Huns hammer the more of them 
the Allies will kill, which is what we came over to help do. 
The Germans may be able to make dents here and there 
by smashing, but they will never be able to break through. 
The Russian collapse may prolong the thing for some time 
but there can be but one end. What I am afraid of is 
that the Germans will not drive on the Western front ; but 
I am encouraged to hope that they will by the fashion in 
which they have always pursued the offensive. 

I am glad that you feel about me as you say you do in 
your letter written on my birthday, and that you are not 
making the great mistake of worrying. If I do not come 
back, why then "that will be too bad," as they say in 
the army, but there might be a great many things worse. 
Any soldier that comes into unfortunate collision with a 
German bullet or other weapon is "out of luck, " in army 
phraseology, but there are lots worse ways of being out of 
luck. And if the unlucky individual happens to be an 



340 One Who Gave His Life 

officer, the commentor always adds the phrase, "but it 
means promotion for somebody." 

Speaking of war corresponding, as I was awhile ago, I 
intended to remark that the story on "The First Raid " in 
the Saturday Evening Post for December 29, 191 7, amazes 
me by the frankness with which the statement of so much 
of the facts was permitted by the censor. There was more 
to tell, but I never expected to see so much in print. If 
you have not read that story get it and read it. The 
French say that the barrage put down by the Boches that 
night was the heaviest in any raid in the whole war. It 
succeeded in making every American soldier mad clean 
through. 

You needn't worry about my needing any fire these days 
for we have had more fuel lately, and have been able to 
keep comfortable. The really bitter weather has been 
over for some time. It is the wet that will bother us for a 
time now, and then it will be the heat, for you know life's 
just one damn thing after another. 

Love to all the folks, and particularly Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

The removal of the Second Battalion from St. Ciergues 
meant the reunion of the entire i68th Regiment. At 
Baccarat in the Lorraine sector, it was reviewed by 
General Segonne. Then it moved on to Pexonne where 
regimental headquarters were established. The Second 
Battalion headquarters were at Badonviller, a town of 
about two thousand inhabitants, 55 kilometers or about 
33 miles southeast of Nancy, and this was the point from 
which the regiment went into the trenches about a mile 
distant from it. Badonviller was the ruined town de- 
scribed by Mills in the first letter in this chapter. It 
remained the centre of activity for his unit during the 
regiment's service in Lorraine. Baccarat became the 



Ravaged Badonviller 341 

headquarters of the Rainbow Division. It is a compar- 
atively large place and the officers of the i68th when on 
leave frequently visited it. It is about fifteen miles from 
Badonviller. 

This latter place, of which Mills was to see much and in 
which he had so many experiences, was one of the first 
towns in Lorraine to be ravaged by the Germans. The 
souvenir book which he sent home later contains photo- 
engravings of the ruined public buildings and the devas- 
tated streets. Inhabitants were massacred, including the 
wife of M. Benoit, the Maire, on August 12, 1914; the 
wounded were butchered and civil and military prisoners 
were brutally treated. Everything portable that the 
invaders could lay their hands on, they stole and carried 
off. Bavarian troops were the authors of these outrages. 

When despatched to the front at this point, the officers 
of the 1 68th were told that they were to have only a ten- 
day training period. Their service there actually lasted 
a hundred and ten days. They were told also that it was a 
very quiet front. They entered the trenches for the first 
time on February 22, and were grouped, man for man, 
with French units which had experience in the game. The 
method used in occupying the trenches was to place one 
battalion in the line, one in reserve and one in support. 
The one in line was at Badonviller, the one in support at 
Pexonne and Camp Ker-Avor and the one in reserve at 
Neufmaisons. They were changed about every eight 
days. For more than a week the sector continued quiet. 
The lowans held the line and went out raiding in No- 
Man's-Land with their French comrades; gradually they 
became accustomed to the situation and alert in response 
to its needs. Then, on March 5, came a terrible bom- 
bardment by the German guns and a savage raid, no doubt 
the one alluded to by Mills in the letters already given. 
The Germans gained nothing by the effort. They lost 



342 One Who Gave His Life 

instead of taking prisoners. But Captain Harry C. 
McHenry of Company B and eighteen men were killed. 
The first crosses over the lowan troops went up in a little 
cemetery near Baccarat. 

This is not a history of the i68th Regiment, a glorious 
tale in itself, and told at length by Chaplain Winfred E. 
Robb in his memorial book, The Price of Our Heritage; 
in these pages, the experiences of Mills are the matter in 
interest and, in the main, they are best recited in his own 
picturesque letters in which he unfolds the soldier's life 
from day to day. The next of these was evidently written 
very near the battle line, on the outskirts of Badonviller: 

March 17, 1918. 

Dear Mother : I am ensconced in an abandoned gun 
pit — this ground has been fought all over two or three 
times already — on the sunny side of a hill somewhere in 
that part of France you should by this time be reasonably 
able to guess at, a France which is to-day really sunny. It 
is a wonderful day, with a clear blue sky out of which a 
warm sun and one of those shadowy, ghost-like crescent 
moons are both shining at the same time. The fields are 
all celebrating St. Patrick's Day, for they have on their 
brilliant spring dress. And if this weather continues it 
won't be long before the trees are green, too. The comer 
of the gun pit makes an excellent armchair, in which I 
have made a cushion with my raincoat. I am leaning 
back luxuriating in the pleasant warmth, one of the cigars 
you sent me stuck in my teeth, my writing pad on my knee, 
the picture of solid comfort. Sol. Rubel says he does not 
believe anybody else can be as contented at anything, 
any way, as I am at writing, 

I have drawn a peaceful, idyllic picture of my present 
location on the map of France. To complete it: I am 
writing to the music of beaucoup de canon, to phrase it 



The War in the Air 343 

Frenchily. Many batteries of our heavy artillery are 
located in the woods around the town where we are now in 
reserv-e, and they are engaged in a lazy sort of duel with 
the Boche artillery. It seems highly incongruous for the 
atmosphere of this ideal day to be smashed so by the roar 
of mighty cannon. Our guns tear loose, and the concussion 
they make jars the ground; then you hear away off to 
the north a muffled roar and in a minute or so there comes 
a flock of Hun "nailkegs" shrieking through the air and 
bursts with another jar about half a mile or so away 
from me. 

What effect our fire has on the other side of the line I 
cannot say ; but the Boche fire on our batteries is wholly at 
random and futile. Their aviators keep coming around 
overhead trying to spot our batteries, but our anti-aircraft 
guns keep them at such a great height their reconnais- 
sance cannot be worth much. Even now a flying Dutch- 
man is highballing it back home through the air lanes 
with little white spots, like fleecy balls of cotton, breaking 
out all around him where our shrapnel is bursting. The 
shells burst so close to the planes that you wonder how 
they escape, yet I have seen only one airman who, I was 
reasonably sure, was shot out of the heavens. This one is 
flying so high that his machine is scarcely discernible by 
the naked eye save where the sunlight shimmers on its 
wings and makes them gleam like those of a dragon-fly. 
All of this no doubt seems highly exciting to you, but is so 
much a matter of course to us that nobody stops to pay 
any attention either to the artillery fire or the plane shoot- 
ing unless a shell happens to drop unusually close, or a flyer 
takes a chance and comes low. As to the aviation end 
of the game, the French don't seem to care how much the 
Boche cruise around high up most of the time, but when 
for any reason we don't want them prying into our busi- 
ness a whole flock of Allied planes appears on the scene, 



344 One Who Gave His Life 

and you don't see anything of the Dutch until our eagles 
depart. I guess the AlHed supremacy of the air is real; 
their supremacy in artillery is beyond question. As for 
the Germans ever being able to drive very deep anywhere 
in these parts, they simply could not do it. Nothing 
would please us more than for them to try. 

I might write you at length concerning more of my 
experiences up front, some of which you have read of 
already in my letter to Mr. Luby, but I am in a mood for 
rereading and answering the three batches of letters I 
have received recently, one of them reaching me while I 
was up on the line. . . . 

Many thanks for all the clippings; I enjoyed them 
immensely. It was too bad about Lieutenant Scott 
McCormick's death in that hand grenade accident. He 
was in my company at Plattsburg, and was in another 
company of the 1 68th where I saw a good deal of him. He 
was one of the best friends I had in the regiment. The 
cause of the accident will never be known. Grenades are 
tricky things. 

In reference to the coal and food shortages concerning 
which you have written me and sent clippings I incline to 
the belief that Kultur will be found back of most of them, 
if the investigations only go deep enough. The long reach 
of German intrigue is a more marvelous thing to me than 
the power of German arms. 

Your Hylan clippings have kept me right up with the 
New York City situation. Curiously enough I had, from 
this distance, come to the conclusion that Hylan was 
trying to ape Gaynor, and had so expressed myself in a 
letter to Al Pierce [The Evening Sun's City Hall reporter], 
before receiving your clippings charging the new Mayor 
with such emulation. 

Well, it's nearly supper time so I had better stop. The 
artillery party is still going on, but Fritz didn't raise his 



Incidental Tragedy 345 

sights any so I didn't have to duck out of my armchair. 
There is a French plane cruising overhead now and no 
Boche in sight. 

Much love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 

Lieutenant Scott McCormick, who was in Company K 
of the 1 68th, died on January 17, 191 8, as the result of the 
accidental explosion of a hand grenade. The sad mishap 
occurred at the officers' training school at Gondrecourt, to 
which he had been sent. Lieutenant Rubel of Mills's 
company was also at the school and was the first to reach 
McCormick's side. It was he who wrote to McCormick's 
mother, Mrs. Oscar Gareissen of New York, giving her the 
details of the tragedy. She was engaged in reading a letter 
from her son when the official notification of his death was 
delivered to her. Lieutenant Rubel's letter led to an 
acquaintance between Mrs. Gareissen and his mother. 
Rubel was killed almost at the same moment as Mills 
and their common grief became a bond of sympathy and 
regard among the three bereft mothers. Mrs. Gareissen 
went to France soon after her son's death to work for the 
soldiers. The kindly efforts which she made later in Mrs. 
Mills's behalf will be told in due course. 

March 19, 191 8. 

Dear Dad: The U. S. N. A. collar insignia and one of 
the boxes of cigars came to-day, and both were most 
welcome. I am acknowledging their receipt at once be- 
cause I am not sure that I will have any opportunity to 
mail letters for the next ten days. This is the last day for 
mailing letters before we start out on a hike of a hundred 
miles or so back to our training area where we will then be 
for some time. We came up by train, but we will march 
back, largely because the railroads are needed for present 
military purposes, I think. I do not apprehend the walk 



346 One Who Gave His Life 

at all, for you know I am pretty good at that, and besides 
I'd just as soon be doing that as anything else. It is all 
work, and the walk will do as much as anything I can 
think of to harden us for future service. If the weather 
only continues as at present, cool but not too cold, with 
the roads splendid underfoot, we should not complain. 

By the way, I don't believe I have taken occasion to 
comment on the wonderful roads of France. They are 
graded to perfection, and are built somehow so as to with- 
stand the suction of automobile tires much better than our 
roads back home. They seem to be a sort of macadam, 
but there is a fine, close-packing white earth of some sort 
mixed in with the crushed rock. The way these roads 
stand up under the terrific military auto-train traffic is 
a marvel ; I hate to think what such use would make of 
our American good roads. The amount of repair work you 
see going on is very slight. These French people have a 
great way of setting out a single row of trees on either 
side of each road, which not only adds to the beauty of the 
landscape but renders travel along the highways, as they 
run largely through endless fields, much easier at night. 
You can keep to the road by v/atching the trees against 
the sky, even on the darkest nights. 

I am enclosing some cards which will give you an idea 
of the sort of country we are now located in, a part of the 
section crushed by the iron heel of f rightfulness. The 
more I see what the Germans have done over here, the 
more I long to kill some of them. 

At the house where we officers are messing now there 
is a baby that was left with the daughter of the family by 
the Boches as a souvenir of their invasion. The father 
and brother of the family are in the army. Battered walls 
are the rule everywhere, but the fields between are kept 
green. 

To-night, as most of to-day has been, is as calm and 



Brief Respite 347 

peaceful as if there were no war anywhere on the face of 
the earth, but at any minute the scores of big guns in the 
immediate vicinity may let loose with a roar almost strong 
enough to lift me right out of my chair. We are within 
possible but not probable artillery range. We will move 
back to where we will not hear the sound of firing for a 
long time, so don't be apprehensive if there are no letters 
from me for a couple of weeks. While you are not hearing 
from me I will not be getting any mail, either. 

I am sending you also a little French calendar book, 
similar to the one which you sent me, and which I was 
mighty glad to carry in my pocketbook. Much love to 
Mother and yourself, and regards to our friends. 

QUINCY. 

The regiment was relieved on March 22 and marched 
to the rear. Part of it went to Jeansmesnil; Quincy's 
battaHon was sent to the rest camp of Ker-Avor, about 
five kilometres from Neuf maisons and three from Pexonne ; 
about five from Badonviller. The rest from battle 
proved to be brief. Mills, however, took advantage of it 
to send home several letters : 

March 26, 191 8. 

Dear Mother : The clipping you sent me regarding a 
prospective raise in officers' pay is interesting, but it strikes 
me that there are more important things to be done first. 
Personally, I do not feel there is so much need for raising 
officers' salaries; I would prefer for the Government to see 
to it that we are not stung in purchasing uniforms and 
other equipment. As compared with officers in other 
armies, we are already munificently paid ; it is a fact that 
unless the British officer has independent means he cannot 
afford to associate with American officers, simply because 
he hasn't the money. On the other hand, it is true that 



348 One Who Gave His Life 

those who stay at home should be willing to pay almost 
any price to those who actually go out and bear the brunt 
of the war, enlisted men and officers alike. 

All things considered, however, I don't believe that the 
highly paid soldier is necessarily the best soldier; in fact, 
the very opposite may easily be the case. I believe that 
the officers and private soldiers of the United States are 
paid too much already. The surplus which both spend 
over what is required for necessities — and the Government 
could supply everything required at a slight additional 
expenditure — is absolutely wasted. And this is no time 
for waste. I really think that while I do enjoy spending 
the surplus that I have I would be a better soldier for not 
having it to spend. The idea of high pay for soldiers is 
a direct outgrowth of the American misconception of 
freedom for self-indulgence instead of self -sacrifice. 

Pershing's condemnation of the hypocrites back home 
for wailing about the moral state of the American soldier 
is great stuff. I think that I have dwelt sufficiently in a 
previous letter on the remarkable cleanness of this army. 
1 1 is so rarely that a soldier abuses the privilege of drinking 
light wine and beer, which is accorded him, as to be 
exceptional. And if the men could buy plenty of candy 
at United States prices I believe that their purchase of beer 
and wine would be cut down fully fifty per cent. If those 
"holier than thou" criticasters would get together and do 
something by organizing candy canteens for every place 
where American troops are quartered over here, they 
would be performing a real service for the United States 
and its soldiers. I hope that you can have this excerpt 
about the ' ' candy canteen ' ' idea put into print. Such an 
innovation would fill a need as great as any tobacco fund 
is now filling. 

But I suppose you are wanting to hear more about my 
experiences up front. Well, while speaking of bombard- 



An American "Show" 349 

ments I don't believe I told you what a beautiful sight 
a night bombardment is. We ' ' put on a show ' ' one morn- 
ing at 4 :3o when the Hght was just beginning to appear in 
the east. I stood in the doorway of battalion head- 
quarters and watched the flash of our great guns back on 
the horizon. It was like the continuous flash of distant 
lightning playing in a gigantic half-circle behind our line. 
The flare from each cannon would light the sky half way 
to the zenith. And there was plenty of thunder to 
accompany the display of light, too, I assure you. 

The men's letters have been interesting since their 
experience in the trenches. "BeHeve me," wrote one, 
"those posts supporting the barbed wire all wore German 
helmets and did squads east and squads west all night 
long every night. You needn't tell me those posts don't 
move, for I've seen 'em." "I shot six Germans sneaking 
up on me one night," confessed another, "and when day- 
light came they were all the same stump. " " Those damn 
posts play leap-frog all night long," declared another. 
"When we got tired," asserted one, "we used to ride the 
rats around." One wag asserted that "rats would halt 
you and refuse to let you pass after dark unless you gave 
the countersign." The men were equally jocular under 
fire. When a shell let go uncomfortably close I have 
heard one sing out to another : ' ' Well, what do you think 
of the war now. Bill?" It was nothing unusual to hear 
a group sing out in unison in answer to a close shell-burst a 
long-drawTi-out derisive "Well! Well!" 

This is in accord with the spirit of the poilus, one of 
whom when a good unhealthy sized piece of shrapnel 
landed with a wicked spat at his feet removed his helmet 
with a flourish, bowed effusively, ejaculated, "Merci, 
beaucoup," replaced his helmet and went on about his 
business. While the big show was going on our men got 
so eager to * ' see Fritz get shot all to hell ' ' that they risked 



350 One Who Gave His Life 

the German fire to crawl up on the parapets where they 
could get a good view. One of them could not restrain 
himself when he saw a Fritz go sailing up into the air along 
with logs, trees (roots and all) and gun wheels ; he just got 
right up and danced on the parapet yelling : * ' Look at that 
damn Dutchman! he thinks he is flying but he ain't." 
This enthusiast had to be yanked down to safety by his 
coat-tails. 

Right in the middle of that big bombardment who do 
you suppose walked into the battalion headquarters but 
three American war correspondents : Lincoln Eyre of the 
New York World, with whom I covered City Hall for 
several years; C. C. Lyon of the United Press, with whom 
I covered the National Conventions in 191 2 and Herbert 
Corey, free lance. They had their first experience under 
fire with us. I got so busy talking old times with Eyre 
and Lyon that I forgot about being ' ' skeered ' ' part of the 
time. The bombardment lasted six hours, as I told you 
before, I believe. These three newspaper men make their 
headquarters in Paris, and they assure me that when I 
get down there on furlough I won't miss anything. And I 
guess I will go to Paris when I get my furlough, as the 
Major tells me it can be arranged. 

Perhaps you will see something written by one or each 
of these men about the little affair they witnessed with us. 
Look out for something of the sort. I am afraid that 
whatever they write they will not give due credit to the 
real heroes of the day, the cooks of G Company, who 
"stood to" around the rolling kitchen during the firing 
and had hot "slum" and boiling coffee ready when the 
guns began to slow up. Before the shooting stopped 
they were helping the carriers get the hot food out to the 
boys in the trenches, and they had to drop flat in the mud 
to dodge shells more than once. Buckets built on the 
thermos-bottle idea are provided for the transportation of 



Reporters Under Fire 35i 

the food a mile or so to the trenches, and the men of our 
company always got theirs piping hot. Our small dog 
really suffered more than any other member of our com- 
pany in the trip to the line. He nearly barked himself to 
death at the German shells that burst close, and is no 
longer a butterball, is quite thin in fact, and badly in need 
of his rest billet. 

I am glad you like the medal I sent you. Here's where 
I close this, as I have an unexpected opportunity to mail 
it. I hope you are having as glorious a Palm Sunday as 
this one which is blessing France and us. 

Captain Springer sends regards. Love to Dad and 
yourself, and regards to the friends. Quincy. 

Mr. Corey wrote an article of 3500 to 4000 words which 
appeared in the New York Globe of April 16 describing 
this visit to Badonviller. He dated it, "With the Ameri- 
can Army in the Lorraine Sector, March 10." This, 
then, was the time of his call at the headquarters of the 
1 68th, although Mills tells of it more than two weeks later. 
Mr. Corey's account of the men, their temper, their cour- 
age, their light-hearted demeanor as well as of their peril 
and suffering corresponds closely with Mills's statements 
in various letters. In the article, this paragraph occurred : 

Inside the pink house, the officer in command received us 
with a grin. The hirniorous feature of the situation lay in the 
fact that we had come up the railroad, every inch of the line 
being under close observation by the Boche. His aid said 
we had come right through the middle of it. His aid, by the 
way, used to do City Hall in New York for an evening paper 
and sent his best wishes to Bill Gramer of the New York Globe. 
He said that Bill was a good old scout. Bill's merits did not 
appeal to us as worthy of discussion at the moment. 

"They're not wasting shell on a few men on the railroad," 
said the officer in command, "they need all those shells to 
lam our batteries with!" 



352 One Who Gave His Life 

This brought a letter from Mr. Gramer to Mills in which 
he said : 

I recognize the leading actor in the unnamed dramatis per- 
sonse. It made me feel glad to hear from you although indi- 
rectly, and inspired me with even more confidence than I had 
in our sterling defenders who, face to face with death, can 
maintain a sense of humor and pause to make inquiry about 
a friend. 

Gradually the public is beginning to grasp the gravity of the 
situation, and you men in the trenches may rest assured that 
you are receiving full support from over here. 

Mills's letters went on : 

March 27, 1918. 

Dear Mother: I am sending, or am going to send as 
soon as I have the opportunity, a very small package your 
way. Its principal content will be a pin in the shape of 
the Cross of Lorraine which I think you will like. The 
two Joan of Arc badges I also inclose are of no intrinsic 
value, but I send them as souvenirs of the town up on the 
first line where we were stationed. I found them in one of 
the abandoned houses there along with a bunch of stamps 
like that at the top of the next card, all bearing the busc 
of The Maid. 

You can't go anywhere in this part of France without 
finding all sorts of similar mementoes of the immortal Joan. 
These two cards will afford you some further idea of the 
appearanceof the ruined towns I've been through recently. 

We have been hiking over more beautiful country in 
what is now really the pleasant land of France. The 
Germans seem to be showing more activity, and we all 
hope it means their drive, Quincy. 

The Cross of Lorraine pin which Mills sent to his mother 
is of gold. The beautiful design shows a double cross with 



Not to Be Awed 353 

a thistle across it. The thistle represents the union of the 
families of Guise and Stuart by the marriage of Mary of 
Guise to James V of Scotland. 

March 31, 1918. 

Dear Mother: Although we are out of cannon sound 
now, the favorite song among the men is, "Gee! but ain't 
America a grand old place ! ' ' There is nothing incongruous 
about this as there was in the sound of the voices of our 
company quartette rising in one of their favorite airs, 
"See that big moon shining up above — There's no time 
like this for making love," one night while the guns were 
banging away around the shell-battered town [Badon- 
villerj in which we remained in support after a period in 
the trenches. The music of our quartette sounded as 
strange in that environment as had the voices of the birds 
in the orchard around battalion headquarters during the 
big bombardment I wrote you of. It seemed to me that 
the concussion from the artillery would have been enough 
to awe the birds into silence, but they ignored it utterly; 
and the only way artillery can effect the spirits of the 
American soldier is by a direct hit. 

However, the music that the shells contribute makes a 
lasting impression and it doesn't take you very long to tell 
the different keys in which the various sizes sing. For 
instance, the Boche 77 comes over with a whizz and a 
bang that has earned for projectiles of that caHbre the 
name of "whizz-bangs." The 105's and 155's, especially 
the shrapnel variety, emit a long drawn out squealing 
whine that trails off interminally before the explosion, this 
peculiar noise having earned them the name of "flying 
pigs" from the American soldier, this appellation being 
original to the A. E. F. so far as I know. But the really 
appalling sound is when a 210 or a 250 invades the atmos- 
phere in your immediate vicinity ; it sounds like a whole 



354 One Who Gave His Life 

frame house coming rushing through the air — a good big 
frame house too — and when that shell lets go, the hole it 
makes is big enough to dump a small building into. 

It is some relief not to have those noises pounding at 
your nerves all the time and to be listening for the next 
one to drop when there's nothing happening. If it were 
not for the comic relief you get up front you would go 
nutty, and when the decorations are passed around one 
ought to be handed out to the well known and much 
maligned army mule for — in addition to keeping both our 
stomachs and guns supplied with food — affording no end 
of this low comedy stuff. One morning when intense 
silence was desired within our lines, there arose in the 
street a clatter that sounded like a whole herd of mules 
stampeding, and after it died down some ten minutes later 
a driver lifted up his voice in an aggrieved complaint: 
' ' Now ye goddam fool mule ye didn't git hurt after all, did 
ye?" The said "goddam" mule had raised all the rum- 
pus about crossing a drain not more than two inches deep. 

One morning I got another good laugh when old Bill 
Hobbs, one of our veteran kitchen mechanics, standing 
arms akimbo, his big spoon in one hand, propounded 
to our chief muleteer, the inquiry: "Well, Ben, where's 
them soldiers goin' to drink this mawnin'?" The while, 
"them soldiers" — our ration wagon team — regarded him, 
one over each of Ben's shoulders, with that gaze of infinite 
wisdom common to mules. Bill having used their trough 
as a wash basin for his greasy pans, "them soldiers" had 
to be led elsewhere to drink that "mawnin'," Uncon- 
sciously though, Bill had done ' ' them soldiers ' ' the greatest 
honor in his power by accepting them on an exactly even 
footing with himself in the conflict against Kultur. If the 
other soldiers do their "bits" as well as the mules they 
will have done something to brag about when the}'' get 
through. 



Long Range Failure 355 

One souvenir of the trenches I have thus far escaped, the 
"cooties," whom the men refer to rather proudly in their 
letters home as their "little pets." In fact, there has been 
less trouble with vermin than I had apprehended. But 
just to be on the safe side I wear a cute little "cootie 
necklace" with lavalHeres (spelled right?) fore and aft, 
which are well soaked with a very penetrating aromatic 
cedar oil that smells much like the sort of stuff we use to 
charm the mosquitos away, back home. I certainly hope 
I don't get bugs in that fine sleeping bag Bill Gramer do- 
nated to me ; it would be too bad to have to burn it. 

The news of the long range guns with which the Ger- 
mans have been shelling Paris has produced a very differ- 
ent effect, so far as the A. E. F. is concerned, from that of 
extreme awe, which Kultur evidently hoped for. ' ' Them 
guns shoot too far; they can't hit us," was the first com- 
ment I heard from the men, who now swear that they saw 
the shells going overhead, and that each one carried a Ger- 
man band playing full blast. This latest Boche stunt 
is entirely in keeping with their grandstand playing 
throughout, but nobody seems to consider it of any 
military significance. From all that I can learn the cost 
of such a bombardment must about equal the damiage 
wrought by it. It is a matter of considerably more con- 
cern that the Germans have been dropping Russian shells 
over on the Western front, indicating that they are putting 
the captured Russian artillery into use. But that the 
addition of these guns will make any serious difference is 
not likely. 

In one respect, particularly, the trip to the trenches has 
been extremely beneficial to the men. Before they went 
up they were inclined to be entirely too cocky, and to hold 
the French in considerable contempt because they hadn't 
"licked the Dutch" already. They still refer to the 
poilus as "froggies," but it is noticeable that having 



356 One Who Gave His Life 

soldiered with them they view them with a large amount 
of respect. The poilus think the Americans incline to 
rashness in always picking on the Boche and keeping him 
stirred up continually, but that is a good trait, provided 
our men don't undertake to walk right on over the German 
trenches into Berlin — and I do not now believe that they 
will make this mistake as the Canadians and Australians 
did. There isn't any doubt about whom "No-Man's- 
Land" belongs to along the American sectors, however. 
The Germans simply got out of the contested ground on 
our front and stayed out of it at night while American 
patrols roamed all over it. Isolated snipers were about 
the only things to worry us, that and the dropping of 
occasional shells. As I have written you before, there is 
hardly ever a batch of the men's letters to be censored 
without a smile in at least one of them. Nearly all of 
them insist on spelling Boche "Bosche" or sometimes just 
plain "Bosh" — and I must admit that there is a certain 
fitness in the characterization. 

This reminds me to remark to you on an American 
eccentricity, indulgence — call it what you like — which 
has made a great impression here in France, causing one 
very nice little madamoiselle at whose home we had our 
officers' mess at one of our stops to inquire: "Quel est le 
goddam? Le soldat d'Amerique dit tou jours, goddam." 
She was considerably mystified and somewhat embar- 
rassed by the shout of laughter which greeted the trans- 
lation of her query. As for communicating with the 
French, I go armed with my trusty pocket dictionary 
always, but don't often have to resort to it in the essential 
intercourse with the natives regarding food, drink and 
lodging. I can usually manage to make myself under- 
stood if I ask a question, but I have a devil of a time some- 
times comprehending the answer, which always sounds so 
very different from the way it looks when written out. 



Back to the Front Line 357 

Here are some Easter violets. Some of these days I will 
tell you a very interesting story concerning the picking of 
them, but for the present I will have to censor that out of 
my correspondence myself. 

It has been a wonderful Easter Sunday, as calm and 
peaceful as if there were no war anywhere in the world. 
However, I risk this gentle Easter wish: "Goddam the 
Germans — tou jours Goddam ! " 

Love to Dad and yourself and regards to all the friends. 

QUINCY. 

Whatever may have been the first intention in with- 
drawing the regiment to the rear, the respite lasted actu- 
ally only ten days. The German drive against the British 
at Amiens made it necessary to collect a large force of 
veteran French troops from the trenches to send to their 
relief. In turn, American troops, including the i68th, 
were ordered to take their place. The regiment marched 
back to Badonviller and occupied the right of the 
divisional front. It remained there, in one or other of 
the three defensive positions, until June i8, making, 
altogether, a hundred and ten days of service on the 
Lorraine front. From one of the support stations here- 
abouts Mills wrote his next letters : 

April 6, 191 8. 

Dear Mother : Glad to get a bunch of mail from you 
to-day, and learn that you folks at home are well and 
happy. You must bear with me if news is fragmentary 
and somewhat far between, for I am so eternally busy that 
I haven't either time, or energy for writing when I get 
the time. I just naturally hit the blankets and snore, 
snore, snore. 

We are not actually in the biggest of the big doings this 
spring, but we are playing a most important part and 



358 One Who Gave His Life 

playing it extremely well, for as the Iowa men all say 
proudly, "we shore have the Dutch bothered," which is, 
I think, absolutely true. The Boches have not attempted 
to patrol the front of our positions at all so far as we can 
ascertain, and we know the holy terror in which they stand 
of the American artillery. 

Some of these days I will have some very interesting 
things to write you, but for the present my communication 
will have to be brief and to the point : That I am well, and 
as happy as a man can be when he hasn't time to think 
whether he is or not. 

Much love for Dad and yourself, and regards to all the 
friends. Quincy. 

April 9, 1918. 

Dear Mother : This is just a brief line to let you know 
that I am O.K., and that a letter telling more in detail of 
my recent experience will follow this as soon as I can get 
to it. My last note to you was written in a dugout some 
several feet underground up on the front line in Lorraine. 
I had a platoon in combat position this time ; and so you 
can imagine that I have had too much on my mind to 
leave much time for letters recently. 

I have pretty much lost track of time in the immediate 
past and of the events occurring therein — the normal ones, 
I mean — so I am not sure that I got notes off to you 
regularly. But I wrote you as often as I could. And 
since coming out I have been specializing in sleep when- 
ever I have not been attending to company matters. 
Somehow or other, there has been another jam in the 
delivery of incoming mail and I am . . . 

Right here, at this point in the sentence, in walked an 
orderly and presented me with a fistful of mail, but there 
were only four letters from you, and that leaves me still 
shy fully half of what you must have mailed me during 



Trench Reports 359 

February. The third box of cigars you mailed me and 
Bill Cramer's package have not showed up yet, and they 
would hit just about right, too. Also the candy will touch 
the same spot when it arrives, which will be some time. 

Well, here's where I put in a few more hours on that 
sleeping contract. 

Much love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 

Further souvenirs of this first experience in the trenches 
were found in Mills's trunks when they were delivered to 
his parents. Between the pages of his notebook used 
later at the Gondrecourt training school for officers, were 
sixteen rough slips of paper torn, some from a pad, some 
from a memorandum book, and containing in pencil 
writing the copies he had kept of reports, requisitions 
and communications which he had sent to his company 
commander and other officers, and one or two repHes 
received from them. Nothing better illustrates the 
matter-of-fact, or routine side of life in the trenches than 
these. They are all numbered. This is the first : 

From Lt. Mills at G. C. 12, 4/3/18—4:15 p.m. By Pvt. Skinner. 

Lt. Younkin : Relief completed as per instructions. We 

drew 5 shrapnel in Boyou Central half way out; and about 15 

in the communicating trench between G. C 11 and G. C. 12, 

one being a direct hit in the trench behind us. I believe that 

as long as the German sausage balloon is kept up over to our 

left it can keep track of chow details and all other parties 

passing into this sector by day. There are three points at 

which the trench between 11 and 12 demands immediate work 

(at one place it is necessary to climb almost on the parapet to 

pass) and it would take 15 men three nights to put this G. C. in 

proper shape. Please get this work done for me. 

Mills. 

To this, Lt. Younkin, who had succeeded Capt. Steller 
in command of Co. C after the latter had been wounded 



36o One Who Gave His Life 

in the head in an extraordinary manner and partially 
blinded, replied : 

Lt. Mills: I will have the "Boche sausage" removed 
to-morrow. 

Will try to get you a working party for to-morrow night ; in 
meantime, do what work you can on trenches and parapet. 
The men relieved are in no condition to work to-night. 

YOUNKIN. 

Mills answered : 

At G. C. 12 — 4/4/18 By Pvt. Lindquist 

To Lt. Younkin: Thanks for having the sausage taken 
down this a.m. I hereby requisition at Lt. Nelson's direction, 
50 duckboards for use in the G.C. and the entrance to the 
C.T. now being repaired, C.T. 311, I think it is. 

The working detail I asked for yesterday should be from one 
of the reserve companies in town — from the engineers, if pos- 
sible. Lindquist on his early trip to-day noticed a steady light 
evidently shining from the door of a dugout in G.C. 13, which 
should be covered. Mills. 

In order, the other communications were : 

At G. C. 12, 4/3/18 — 5 P.M. By Pvt. Skinner. 

Ordnance Officer, 2nd Btn.: — Give this detail 1500 
rounds of automatic rifle ammunition for Lt. Mills at G.C. 12. 

Q. S. Mills, 
2nd Lt. G Co. 1 68th Inf. 

G. C. 12, 4/3/18 — 5 P.M. By Pvt. Skinner. 

Lt. Gunderson: Please furnish runner with a detail to 
carry out 1500 rounds of Chauchat ammunition. Also give 
him one automatic pistol and three clips for my first sergeant 
and two pistol holsters. Sorry to bother you but we need the 
stuff to-night. Q. S. Mills, 

2ndLt., Co. G 1 68th Inf. 



The Deadly "Sossidge" 361 

Intelligence Report 

G. C. 12, 4/4/18—3:45 A.M. By Pvt. Skinner. 

Night very quiet. Half a dozen shrapnel dropped in 
vicinity of G.C. at 7:30 p.m. last evening. No effect. 

QuiNCY S. Mills, 
2nd Lt., G Co. 1 68th Inf. 

G. C. 12, 4/4/18 — 2:30 P.M. By Pvt. Lindquist. 

To Lt. Younkin: Send also 50 sandbags. And most 
important of all, send a bottle of oil for the automatic rifles. 
A bottle of oil was sent to each P. C. when the platoons came 
out, but we can find none here. Lt. Pearsall may have taken 
it back to the support by mistake. If so, please ask him to 
return it. 

Also see to it that that damned "sossidge" is hauled down 
again. It's spotting " dornicks " for Fritz on the C. T. between 
1 1 and 12, this afternoon. One of them just burst close to our 
Post No. I , touching up the parapet a bit. Mills. 

Morning Report 





By P\ 


^T. Lindquist. 


C 12, 4/4/18. 






On duty this day: 






Commissioned Officers 


2 




Non-Coms. Sergeants 


2 




Corporals 


5 




Privates 


25 




Total 


34 





Ammunition Report 

Add 3400 rounds Chauchat ammunition 
" 320 " auto-pistol, cal. .45 
" 100 F I grenades 

QuiNCY S. Mills, 
2nd Lt., Co. G, i68th Inf. 



362 One Who Gave His Life 

G. C. 12, 4/5/18—3:45 A.M. By Pvt. Skinner. 

To Lt. Younkin: (i) There are two dugouts now in use. 
One more could be fitted for use if drained of the water now 
knee deep in it. None of the three is more than ten feet under- 
ground. Only the P. C. dugout has two entrances. There is a 
fourth and older large dugout, but which could not be rendered 
safe without a great deal of work. 

(2) The P. C, dugout has been fitted recently with gas 
blankets, which are in good condition ; there is a blanket on the 
entrance, also, of the dugout used for the men. There should 
be a blanket also on the dugout now knee-deep in water, which 
we used for shelter, in case of heavy bombardment. 

(3) The trenches are in poor condition. They require 
drainage and revetment throughout, if they are to be kept 
serviceable. At least 100 duckboards and several hundred 
sandbags would be required to put these trenches in first-class 
shape. 

(4) There is a great deal of wire both in front of and behind 
this G. C, but it is old and requires repair. With the excep- 
tion of one point, the wire furnishes fairly adequate protection. 
There should be some new wire and new posts, but no great 
amount is needed. Quincy S. Mills, 

2nd Lt, G Co., 1 68th Inf. 

Morning Report 

G. C. 12, 4/5/18— 3:45 A.M. 
On duty this day : 
Officers I 

Non-Coms Sergeants 2 
Corporals 5 
Privates 25 

33 

Ammunition Report 

On hand: 

Chauchat Ammunition 6000 rounds 

30-30 5000 



Day of No Firing 363 

Auto-Pistol, Cal. .45 320 rounds 

Grenades F i 233 " 

"OF 25 " 

French 180 " 

Chauchat clips 75 
Ammunition expended since taking over G.C. 12 

at 4 P.M., April 3rd: None. 

Work Report 

All spare time of men devoted to drainage, sanitation and 
renovation of ammunition dump. 

Q. S. Mills, 
2nd Lt., G Co., 1 68th Inf. 

G. C. 12, 4/5/18. By Pvt. Lindquist. 

Lt. Younkin : Please have a spool of barbed wire sent out 
this afternoon. Mills. 

G. C. 12, 4/6/18 — 3:45 A.M. Pvt. Lindquist. 

Wire patrol of 4 men at dusk, 4/5/18, mended old breaks in 
wire front of post No. 5 ; time, 30 min. Enemy flares frequent. 
Enemy artillery 4/5 shelled G.T. between G.C. 11 and 12 for 
30 min, at 2:30 p.m. 25 shells; several shells fell around this 
G.C. An enemy outpost discovered by Sergeant (name il- 
legible) some 1500 yards distant in woods just behind old 
enemy; attempted sniping on this post proved ineffective 
because of distance. 

Ammunition report, no change ; no ammunition fired in past 
24 hours. 

Morning report : No. of men on duty this day : 



Officers 
Non-Coms 

Privates 


. Sergts. 
Corporals 

Total 


I 
2 
5 

33 






QUINCY S. 
2nd Lt., G Co., 


Mills, 
1 68th Inf. 



364 One Who Gave His Life 

G. C. 12, 4/7/18 — 3:45 A.M. By Pvt. Skinner. 

To Lt. Younkin: Patrols from this post yesterday ex- 
amined an old trench running through No-Man's-Land to the 
German line; with the resulting conclusion that this sap is the 
working base of German snipers who have been firing on the 
G.C's posts frequently of late. From this sap command can 
be had of the principal street in Badonviller, which I under- 
stand has been fired into recently. American snipers, if sent 
out systematically, could control this sap and use it as effec- 
tively as it is now being used by the enemy. 

The same enemy trench mortar reported previously from 
this G.C. as being located in a wooded hollow opposite was 
active late yesterday, throwing some 30 shells at the Alabamans 
from around 5 p.m. 

Worked twenty men most of the afternoon draining trenches 
and rearranging duckboards. 

Ordnance property to be turned over to relieving force: 
50,000 rounds Chauchat ammunition ; 200 rounds auto-pistol 
am., 180 French citron grenades; 10 Very pistol barrage 
shells; one Very pistol advance barrage shell; 8 advance 
barrage trench shells; 5 tromblon star shells; 13 tromblon flare 
lights; II Very pistol gas shells; 4 Very flare Hghts; 30 barrage 
rockets; 23 gas rockets; 12 assorted rocket, flare and caterpillar 
lights. 

No ammunition expended in 24 hours past. 

QuiNCY S. Mills, 
2nd Lt., Co. G, i68th Inf. 

This souvenir of trench conditions was also found. 

From G. C. 12. 4/5/18, Time 3:35 a.m. By Pvt. Skinner. 

To Y. M. C. A. : Please let bearer have what you can spare 
in Sweets, also Writing Paper and Envelopes. 

QuiNCY S. Mills, 
2nd Lt. Co. G, 168 Inf. 

A partially illegible penciled sheet, accompanying the 
others also illustrates a detail of army life in active service. 
It belongs to the St. Ciergues period, but may be given 



Camp Tidying Up 365 

here along with these other official memoranda. It shows 
that military precision is unrelenting even in presence of 
the enemy : 

To the Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion, i68th Infantry: 

I. Will be inspection to-morrow, January 31, 191 8, by the 
Division Inspector. 

II. All buildings and rooms occupied by the troops must 
be scrubbed and thoroughly policed. The bed ticks will be 
arranged uniformly with a poncho underneath and a folded 
blanket covering. All surplus clothing must be hung up and 
arranged neatly around the walls. Shoes Mall be cleaned and 
arranged neatly near each man's bunk. Boots will be washed 
off and hung up on the walls. 

III. Street will be policed and put in good condition. 
Kitchen will be policed and if necessary the floor will be 
scrubbed. Also the ground around the kitchen will be policed. 
Latrines will be placed in good sanitary condition. 

IV. This preparational work must be completed before the 
troops go on to drill. 

V. It would be advisable for the company commander to 
make an inspection to see that everything is in readiness for 
the Divisional Inspector, before he proceeds to the drill 
ground. 

Additional Paragraph II. Mess tins will be cleaned and 
placed in a convenient place for the Inspector. 

Evidently military housekeeping is meticulous to the 
point of old-maidishness. From the military succinct- 
ness of these documents an intimate and enlightening 
acquaintance with the fighting front may be derived. 
No less illuminating but very different in style is the letter 
in which Mills breezily records his experiences for the same 
period : 

April 10, 191 8. 

Dear Mother: Well, here we are back of the line in 
support again without any casualties yet in our company 



366 One Who Gave His Life 

after two hitches in the trenches. But I knock on wood, 
for, while our sector has been quiet in comparison with 
what is going on, on the British front, company G has 
played in luck. 

Even in a quiet sector there are always shells, or 
"dornicks" as the men refer to them jocosely, dropping 
and machine guns playing, so if a man is careless it's more 
than likely to be his funeral. My doctrine of keeping my 
head down is followed religiously by this outfit ; every man 
is determined not to take any chances where he hasn't a 
chance of getting a Boche, and useless losses have been 
and will, I believe, continue to be obviated. 

On this trip up I had a platoon in combat position on 
the line, and I simply cannot tell you how my respect for 
the enlisted men of this company, always high, was 
increased by being in the trenches with them. They are 
certainly soldier stuff of the very highest order ever put 
into uniform. It is a real privilege to serve with them. 

Odd experiences are always coming to everyone all 
through life, but one of my oddest came to me while doing 
this trick on the line. You remember I wrote you that I 
was in command of the company for a time some months 
ago while most of the other officers were at school. Well, 
while in command it became necessary for me to appoint a 
sergeant, and I named the man I thought best fitted for 
the place, regardless of seniority. On the first round in 
the trenches my sergeant made good, and when I went in 
who should I have to run things for me but my own 
appointee. The way he worked for me (naturally) was a 
caution. We didn't have a hitch, and I have no doubt 
that in case of just a plain attempt at a raid — not an 
attack in force, of course — we would have smashed the 
Huns to a finish. This sergeant's name is Will Scott. 
He has three brothers of military age, and all are in the 
service. He says that his mother only wishes she had 



Trench Anxiety 367 

four more sons to put in uniform. Scott was a junior 
corporal when I was sent to the company, and had the 
former policy of seniority in promotions been adhered to 
he would be a corporal still. The way he has proved up 
has had the very good effect of establishing a precedent 
for abolishing the seniority system in the company, and 
this is a step in the right direction. 

I suppose you have noticed in the papers the account 
of Capt. Steller's misfortune. [The original commander of 
Company G.] He stepped out of his dugout while there 
was no shell firing going on in the immediate vicinity, and 
was struck on the head by some sort of missile that 
apparently dropped out of clear space. He was struck 
on top of the helmet, which kept the blow from killing him, 
but he has entirely lost the sight of the left eye, and is still 
in the hospital. I doubt if he will be returned to active 
duty. Lieut. Younkin has had charge of the company 
practically all of the time it has been up front, and has 
acquitted himself creditably. The captain's injury was a 
very strange incident. He was alone at the time, and says 
he heard nothing before he was struck. Some shells 
were going away over from both sides, and one theory was 
that a sliver falling from one of these in transit happened 
to hit him; either that or it was a sniper's bullet, but if 
the latter it seems he would have heard it. His injury is 
the most serious sustained by anyone in the company thus 
far. 

So far as my stay in the front line was concerned, it was 
extremely quiet, but naturally the strain of being on the 
qui vive is sufficiently wearing to render rest necessary by 
the time a stint is over, even if nothing happens. What 
I minded most was the mud, and the floundering around 
over slippery duckboards making my rounds in darkness 
so black you couldn't see your hand before your face. 
My rubber hip boots kept my feet dry, but they sure did 



368 One Who Gave His Life 

pick me up and throw me down often enough. And 
after such strenuous exercise I never had any trouble 
rolHng into my bunk down in the dugout and sleeping 
like a log. 

On coming back from my first experience right in the 
line I am "bothered," as these Iowa lads put it, much less 
by the danger of such life than by its acute discomfort. 
Of course I did not have to stand attack and after I have 
put in some time in a more lively neighborhood I may 
revise my feelings. 

I wasn't annoyed any by barbed wire posts and stumps 
creeping craftily upon me in the darkness this time, but 
maybe that will come later, too. I had some men who 
were always hearing Huns in the wire after nightfall, but 
we never found any of them. 

The trench rats are all you have heard them represented 
as being. I got so that I could sleep O. K. with them 
capering over my face and person. They furnish diver- 
sion for the men on post, who rig up traps and catch them 
during the night hours that pass too slowly for them on 
watch. One of my runners swore he woke up one night to 
catch a rat in the act of putting on his boots and walking 
off in them, but I didn't see that. Some of the men on 
post declare that all trench rats are equipped with rubber 
boots — size lo's — and gas masks. You would be amazed 
at the amount of fun the fellows have in the trenches. 
And it is an odd thing that the gas hasn't killed off the rats 
all along the line. We were very fortunate in not getting 
a single shot of gas this time. I do not mind being equally 
fortunate all the time, for gas masks are very unpleasant 
things to wear. They make you feel that you can't get 
out and scrap if you have to; but then the other fellow 
has to wear his muzzle too, if he comes over while there is 
gas about, so it's as broad as it's long. 

Will write you more on the trench subject another time. 



Mile. Printemps 369 

We are now back in reserve, and are going further back 
in a day or two. 
Much love to Dad and yourself, Quincy. 

April 14, 1918. 

Dear Mother : Here are a couple of views of the first 
place [St. Ciergues] we were in after leaving the fort. 
Sorry I had to erase the name to comply with censorship 
regulations. This is the old inn I lived at [Hotel Fevre], 
and the window with the shutter is the one from which I 
used to watch the water in the spillway from the lake. 
The other card shows a road along the lake, with our town 
on the other side. 

This inn is the one where we got the wonderful pommes 
de terre and chaud chocolat. We haven't been able to 
get any food anywhere else in France to touch what was 
set before us there. We hope to return there later. 

Are being blessed with wonderful spring weather now. 
The fruit trees are all bursting out in glorious bouquets 
all over the countryside. And I am blossoming out in my 
dress up duds for the first time since my arrival in France. 
Decided to make the concession to Mile. Printemps, since 
she was smiling on us so. If there were only some pretty 
girls around this wouldn't be such a bad war at present, 
but the pretty girls aren't. 

Much love to Dad and yourself, Quincy. 

April 17, 1 91 8. 

Dear Mother : So you know at last what it feels like 
to cast your ballot 1 Well ! Well ! None of my ancestors 
ever had mothers old enough to vote. I can just see you 

and Mrs. and Mrs. chewing on your long black 

cigars as you put down the X marks opposite the candi- 
dates' names. 

I am not at all surprised at the way you voted, or the 

24 



370 One Who Gave His Life 

reasoning by which you were influenced. I am glad 
you have at last had the pleasure of voting; if we could 
only both vote for Irish conscription now, and then help 
enforce it, we would feel that we had done enough. I am 
sore clean through at the Irish for the part they have 
played or haven't played, in this war. The Irish are going 
to wake up some fine day to find out that they've got 
themselves into a position where nobody will have any 
sympathy for them. 

I feel considerably better after having got this business 
off my mind, and will proceed to tell you, before I forget it, 
that bit of interesting news I promised regarding the vio- 
lets I sent you about two weeks ago. I picked them just 
at the door of my dugout in the ruined city up on the 
Lorraine front [Badonviller], the dugout in question being 
situated under the remains of a shell-shattered chateau. 
I know you will value the violets more now. And I wish 
you could enjoy the beauties of the spring blossoms with 
me here in France ; they never before seemed so beautiful 
to my eyes, the fruit trees bursting out like gigantic pink 
and white bouquets everywhere. As I passed along a 
road near here to-day I noticed a peach tree all in bloom 
although it had been blown over by a shell which had 
struck in its roots, as if it enraged Kultur to see anything 
so fair. 

A matter which will interest you, I know, is in regard 
to my service in this regiment. All U. S. N. A. and U. S. 
R. officers serving in National Guard units have been 
asked to resign their training camp commissions and 
accept Guard commissions of the same grade. The 
reason assigned for this request is that all promotions must 
be made within the N. G. branch in N. G. units, and that 
officers holding commissions in other branches cannot be 
advanced in the Guard and will be shifted to other units 
unless they transfer to the N. G. 



U. S. versus N. G. 37i 

Promotion doesn't worry me. Having come this far 
with the organization I feel a reluctance not to see things 
through with it, particularly as the more of the men in the 
ranks I see the more I admire them. But if I am shifted 
to a drafted unit it need not surprise you, although I do 
not look for a change any time soon. And it may be 
that no changes will be made, as the changing would have 
to be so general. Personally, I think the distinction a very 
foolish one; it is all the U. S. army, and all commissions 
should be plain U. S. But the regular army is jealous of 
the U. S. insignia, and the National Guard is anxious to 
preserve the integrity of that branch. 

Wonder where I'll turn up next — with a bunch of 
conscripts from the Golden Gate or from Dixie? For my 
part, I would like very much to see the sectional line 
obliterated altogether, and men from every State in every 
regiment. From the replacement troops we have just 
received, I gather there is something of the sort going on; 
if the same rate of change should continue, this could not be 
classified as an Iowa regiment, strictly speaking, very long. 
And how much better it would be for the United States 
Army to be really a National Army and not a combination 
of sectional armies. Of course the negro troops would 
have to be kept separate, but what has become of them 
anyway? I never hear of them; are they training, and 
where ? 

Any change in organizations for me I think will be ex- 
tremely unlikely until after I go to one of the army schools. 
Unless events interfere with the regular sessions, I rather 
expect to go about the middle of May, a month from now. 
But we may all be so busy in a larger school that we won't 
get any special instruction for a while. The terms of 
these schools are from five to six weeks, so that will keep 
me going well into the summer. And I am making 
application for my regular leave of some ten days to come 



372 One Who Gave His Life 

along some of these times. It was due April 12, after 
four months' service on this side, but for the present all 
leaves are held up for both officers and men because the 
war business is just a little too pressing to admit of ' ' per- 
missions" — as the French call furloughs. I am going 
through the formality of asking for mine in the hope of 
thus keeping from losing it entirely. 

You ask about whether you shall send packages of 
Sunday papers to me ; I think not. The clippings I enjoy ; 
the additional bulk of the Sunday issues would hardly 
justify themselves, I believe. All the gleanings you have 
sent me about Hylan I have read with much interest, 
amusement — and disgust. I have a premonition that it 
w411 not be necessary for me to lift the lid off the town 
when I return. I hope the City Hall is nailed down, and 
that Mitchel took care to take out burglar insurance on 
the golden statue of Civic Virtue atop the Municipal 
Building. 

Much love to Dad and yourself — and kick the cats for 
me, QuiNCY. 

Exactly where the preceding letter was written it is not 
possible to say, but those which follow down to the end of 
the chapter were unquestionably written at Camp Ker- 
Avor, where the Battalion had a ten-day rest, and whose 
surrounding scenery is accurately described : 

April 20, 1 91 8. 

Dear Mother : The forest pictured on this card is not 
where we are resting, though it is very suggestive of our 
present quarters. It would be a nice place a little later 
on, but the weather is still too cool and rainy for such 
a location to be entirely comfortable, especially underfoot. 

Your solicitude regarding sending packages over here 
seems to have been relieved forcibly by the Government, 



Cutting Irony 373 

which has decided to prohibit the sending of parcels to 
soldiers, I see. I am not surprised. The package game 
has been abused greatly; so much stuff that would spoil 
before it got here has been sent; and there has been so 
much sent that wasn't worth the transportation. 

In regard to your inquiry as to what sort of knitted 
goods to send, I repeat that gloves are the soldiers' great- 
est want in the winter. They never have enough, and 
often really suffer for want of covering for their hands. 
The wristlets do not answer. Quincy. 

April 23, 1918. 

Dear Mother: I have been absorbing so much sleep 
the last few days that I am afraid I have let time go by 
when I should have been writing to you. It is amazing 
how much you can sleep over here, even in a dugout up 
on the front line. 

I have just written a friend a letter of sympathy over 
the terrible pHght he is in. He wrote me that he was 
doing something or other for a war board which is sup- 
posed to be accomplishing something or other and is 
actually providing soft jobs, I suppose, at Washington. 
He complained bitterly over the hardship of having to live 
in a city so overcrowded that he had to occupy a hotel 
room, or suite or some place or other, with another similarly 
imposed upon chair warmer instead of by himself. I told 
him how sorry I was he had to feel so keenly the ruthless 
heel of Frightf ulness, and that something would have to be 
done about such indignities being heaped on free-bom 
American citizens. I also advised him that if he had once 
resided in a dugout some fifteen feet underground where 
there was always at least two inches of water on the floor 
he wouldn't be so choice about his sleeping quarters. I 
suggested, too, that if more attention were paid to swelling 
the ranks of our army over here instead of those of the 



374 One Who Gave His Life 

safety zone army in the States, a great deal more would 
be accomplished toward licking the Huns. I do believe 
very firmly that there's too much waste of energy in 
commissions and boards which duplicate and reduplicate 
work, and even operate at cross purposes, thereby hamper- 
ing the delivery of both men and supplies on this side of 
the Atlantic. 

We are leading a very prosaic life now, back in a rest 
camp in the woods. The last sensation we had, and a 
very mild one at that, was when a Boche airman sailed 
over the last town I wrote you from and peppered machine 
gun bullets down on our streets while our batteries burst 
shrapnel around him. The most thrilling incident I have 
witnessed up at the front was something of the same sort 
that occurred one morning about 5 A.M. when a Boche 
flier fell into a trap laid for him by our artillery, which let 
him circle lower and lower until the gun layers had all the 
"dope" on him. Then all the batteries within range 
opened up on him at once, and he turned tail and headed 
for Germany "like a bat out of hell," as my sergeant very 
graphically described it. 

Anti-aircraft shrapnel bursts with a peculiar detonation 
that seems to ring all around the heavens when it goes off 
anywhere near over your head, and the noise of the 
bombardment of this lone aviator was really awe-inspiring. 
He came scudding low right over our position, every 
wire even of his machine standing out in clear relief against 
the sky in the early morning light, angry bursts of black 
shell smoke popping out all around him. Each shell burst 
under the tail of his machine seemed to accelerate his speed 
homeward by about twenty miles an hour. He was surely 
going some when he passed over us, but he wasn't too busy 
with trying to get away to turn his machine gun on us and 
do his best to take some of us along with him if he had to 
be shot down. The bullets whined down into our trenches 



Sisters Defy Shrapnel 375 

close by but we got off untouched. So did he, although 
I don't see how he ever managed it. Altogether, his flight 
made the most sensational spectacle I have ever witnessed. 
Only the proper climax was lacking, the shooting down of 
the Hun machine. What a movie that episode would have 
made! Indeed, our everyday sights over here beat the 
movies, and even the Follies, all hollow. Too much 
excitement grows stale on anyone, though. 

Back in the town we just moved out of I used to marvel 
at the manner in which the French urchins would play out 
in the streets, racing down the hill before my billet in the 
same sort of coaster wagons the kids delight so in, back in 
New York, and not pay the sHghtest attention to German 
shells shrieking past and bursting just over the hill on a 
road that the Fritzes were always touching up. This 
obliviousness to danger, particularly in view of the shell- 
shattered buildings all around them, struck me as being 
so remarkable in children as to be almost unbeHevable. 
The manner in which civilians clung to the remains of their 
homes, even in the town we occupied up within a mile 
of the first line [Badonviller] never ceased to be a wonder 
to me . Among the inhabitants were two unusually pretty 
sisters, about sixteen and eighteen, who stuck it out 
through bombardment after bombardment. It was the 
strangest sight I ever saw to see these two girls come 
strolling down the street, daintily dressed, apparently 
wholly unappalled by the scene of desolation around them, 
paying no heed to the voice of war even when the big guns 
were talking loudly on both sides of the line, unless the 
Boche shrapnel burst unusually close. And then they 
would scamper for a dugout, laughing as if it were a huge 
joke to be shot at. 

The last time we were up they were still there, although 
a shell had struck one corner of their house and demolished 
it. I could never figure why these girls and their mother 



376 One Who Gave His Life 

— the family was entirely respectable — or any of the other 
residents of the town persisted in staying in the face of 
such conditions. To tell you the truth, I strongly sus- 
pected all of them of being German agents ; certainly the 
Boche were well enough posted on what we were doing to 
have had telephone connection from the town right out 
overNo-Man's-Landtotheirheadquarters. The only com- 
pensation was that the French were equally well advised 
regarding everything the Germans did. The accuracy of 
our information was as remarkable as that of the data 
Fritz managed to compile on us. When the Americans 
take over a definite and appreciable sector, I hope that 
they will clear out every civilian from an area extending 
back several miles from the line. 

One source of information which the Huns work to the 
utmost of its possibilities is the observation balloon, or 
"sausage," which, as you know, is anchored at a distance 
too far behind the lines to be hurt by artillery fire, and is 
run up to a great height. From it observers telephone 
to the artillery all activities they pick up. On clear days 
the Boche always have a whole flock of these big bags 
floating, and I blame them for the artillery fire which 
pestered us from time to time while we were up front. I 
used to spend all my spare time cursing those "sossidges," 
and in particular one which looked down so inquisitively 
into my position that I felt its observer could see right 
into my dugout and know exactly what I had for each meal. 
The only effective weapon against the "sausage" is the 
aeroplane, and its chance of sneaking up and making a 
killing before the big bag can be hauled down is always 
slim. But some days ago the first two American fliers on 
this part of the front went out for game, and they got 
this same ' ' sossidge ' ' that had been my particular aversion. 
Because it rode exceptionally high they were able to nail 
it, although the Fritzes hauled down at it like mad, before 



Cats of No Man's Land 377 

it could be got to safety. To quote Briggs, the Tribune 
cartoonist : ' ' Oh, boy ! but wasn't that a grand and glorious 
feeHn'," when I heard about the drop in German sausage. 
The other officers had been incHned to kid me about my 
great aversion to it, but since it developed that the Ameri- 
can aviators went after their game because the artillery 
commander of this sector told them that the greatest favor 
they could do him would be to stop the "sossidge " observ- 
ation, I have not been kidded so much. German sausage 
stock isn't nearly so high these days, either — not much 
higher than the treetops, where it can't do much damage. 

The French also use these observation balloons, but they 
do not dot the sky with them so thickly as do the Germans. 

I know you will be interested to learn that several of my 
men reported seeing cats roaming around in No-Man's- 
Land while we were up on the front line. I did not see 
any of them myself, but I am not surprised that they were 
there, attracted from the deserted towns along the line to 
the trench systems which certainly teem with food for 
them. The men suggest in their letters that Chinese 
troops ought to solve the trench warfare problem because 
it wouldn't be necessary to have any Commissary Depart- 
ment for them. 

Speaking of ruined towns, there was just west of the 
place where we were "in," in a locality where the lines 
were very far apart, an absolutely deserted village, situ- 
ated entirely in No-Man's-Land. From our lines it 
appeared to be less shot up than some of the places behind 
the lines, which is only natural, after all. And speaking 
of cats, there was a fine yellow and white Tommy at my 
billet in the village we just left; all you had to do was pat 
him on the head and he would swarm up to your shoulders 
and rub against your head. He didn't care to be held in 
your arms, but he liked to sit clean up on your shoulder. 
I was sorry to leave him. We have a nice yellow and 



378 One Who Gave His Life 

white kitten here at this rest camp, but it doesn't know the 
shoulder stunt. 

We are now occupying barracks in a very pretty wooded 
locality, and are comfortable enough except for the fact 
that all the officers are in one room, and the surroundings 
render writing rather difficult. Our mail continues to be 
irregular ; it may be that the letter in which you referred to 
them may have gone astray, but I have never had any 
reference from you to the pair of shoulder bars I sent you 
some time ago. On the chance that they may have been 
lost, I am sending you another pair, which I have worn. 
I hope that they will not be mashed in transit, but if they 
are you can have them straightened out. 

Well, I'll have to close for this time. Much love to Dad 
and yourself, and remember me to all the friends. 

QUINCY. 

April 28, 1 91 8. 

Dear Mother : This has certainly been package week 
with me. Day before yesterday I received one of the 
boxes of cigars Dad mailed to me, not the one with the 
pencils inclosed, however, which will come later I suppose, 
but the small box of Huyler's, sent with Sweet's compli- 
ments, and the copy of A Night at an Inn. Yesterday I 
got the big box of smokes Bill Gramer started toward me 
some time ago. And to-day the package of "American 
Mixed" candy arrived. It is needless to say that lam 
very popular. Your box of cigars arrived in the nick of 
time. I had just opened the last one I had on hand. 
This makes the third I have received from you. The 
boxlet of Huyler's was delivered right after supper, and 
it afforded each of us officers a sweet bite to end up our 
meal. 

The box from Bill was a regular Santa's pack. It con- 
tained two boxes of "Corona" cigars, — which won't 



Dunsany and Service 379 

mean much to you, but would mean a lot to a smoker, for 
that is one of the finest brands made, and is Bill's regular 
smoke for himself, so you know how good it must be — 
I, GOO Murad cigarettes, two pound cans of pipe tobacco, 
and 72 packages of Bull Durham. My platoon is 
naturally sharing with me the tobacco and the candy, 
which is just fine. 

I enjoyed the Dunsany curtain (and hair) raiser, but 
I agree with you that it has less to recommend it than some 
of his other plays. What a strange mind he has. I hope 
that he may survive the war, for his handiwork shows 
more innate genius than any that has been produced by 
other writers of the present day. Nevertheless, the 
things that hit home to the men over here are the poems 
of Robert W. Service. You have to do a hitch actually 
in the front line trenches, and see the ghostly flares throw 
their light over No-Man's-Land at night to realize how 
fundamental is his understanding of the soldier and the 
soldier's life in the present war. I would like to have a 
volume of his war poems, but I am not particularly 
interested in his Songs of the Yukon. 

This "American Mixture," on which I am munching as 
I write, certainly hits the spot. It's one of my favorites. 
And Lieutenant Nelson sends his especial thanks for it. 
As he does not smoke he had been bawling me out for not 
getting anything for him in any of my packages. He 
sure is one good scout. Many, many thanks for your 
and Dad's goodness to me, and much love, 

QUINCY. 

May I, 1918. 

Dear Mother : You would surely enjoy visiting the vil- 
lage in which I am now residing. It is a quaint collection 
of Swiss huts situated in a thick forest, largely of hemlock. 
The French soldiers who have preceded us here have spent 



3^0 One Who Gave His Life 

a lot of time and artistic talent on the construction of 
rustic chapels and villas. A more picturesque environ- 
ment in which to take a rest after a tour of duty in the 
trenches could scarcely be imagined. The very forest 
aisles among the trunks of the stately hemlocks are rest- 
ful. This would be an ideal place to be in the summer, 
but now, in the time of spring rain, it has its disadvan- 
tages. One of these being that we are all crowded to- 
gether in a one-room bungalow which is too small for half 
a dozen officers to be crated in day after day, and grows 
progressively more constricted as the days pass. 

Letter writing is almost impossible in such crowded 
conditions. Could I devote myself peacefully to that 
pastime I could enjoy myself greatly in spite of being shut 
indoors, but as it is I am having to kill too much time at 
absolutely nothing. Too bad that we could not make the 
most of an ideal rest billet. For had the weather been 
kind I would have enjoyed myself thoroughly during many 
pleasant hours seated with my back against one of these 
hemlock trees with my pad on my knee. 

Spring has certainly outdone herself in this instance to 
prove what a fickle wench she is. After those days of 
sunshine and blossoms, of which I wrote you lately, we 
have scarcely seen the sun for a week. Day follows upon 
day with damp chilly rain, varied once on the 20th by a 
snow flurry. I am led to believe that French weather is 
as variable as the French temperament has always been 
represented. I recollect very distinctly nights in the 
middle of January so warm that I sat in my room back at 
the inn, overlooking the lake I wrote you of [St. Ciergues], 
with my window open, and the air so balmy that I felt 
almost that I could take my coat off. But it's no use 
bawling out Mile. Spring — any more than any other 
fair demoiselle. 

The men take their isolation pretty hard. They feel 



Soldiers' Grievances 381 

particularly aggrieved that they have had a pay day out 
in the woods where there is no place but the Y. M. C. A. 
to expend their francs. They would like to invest some 
of their remuneration for fighting the Boche in vin rouge. 
As I said before, there is very little drinking to excess. 
But whoever heard of a soldier who wouldn't crack a bottle 
now and then? Nor is it anything to a soldier's discredit 
so long as he doesn't make a sot of himself. 

You would laugh could you read the protestations as 
written by the men to their wives and sweethearts regarding 
the absolute impossibility of French women. They as- 
sert that the pretty French girls they had heard so much 
about are just as pretty as they have found France to be 
sunny. One of them declared that he had been unable to 
discover any girls between the ages of 3 and 83, thus com- 
menting on the curious phenomenon I mentioned to you 
some time ago : the fact that young women are as scarce 
as young men over here. Maybe the girls are too shy to 
reveal themselves to the Yankee soldiers, but I never 
heard the French girls accused of any such shyness. 

Perhaps I have mentioned before that an almost uni- 
versal defect among the French that I have noted is bad 
teeth. Men and women both seem to pay no attention to 
their teeth. I have seen a number of French girls who 
were really good looking until they opened their mouths. 
I supposed that this carelessness of the teeth was true only 
of the less educated people I had come in contact with, 
but our army dentists tell me that dentistry, as it is 
practised at home for the saving of teeth, is practically 
unknown except in the larger cities over here, the French 
dental surgeon's chief tool being his forceps. I cannot 
understand how such a condition can exist. 

To return to the subject of our resting place, it is well 
known for its architectural attractions ; in fact I had seen 
pictures of several of its most striking features printed in 



382 One Who Gave His Life 

the Sunday pictorial sheets of the New York papers before 
leaving home. Another aspect in which we are fortunate 
is in being the first American troops in this place. The 
people of the district are better off and more intelligent 
than those in the places where we have been billeted 
previously, and they look upon us less as a source of 
revenue than as friends in need for whom they cannot do 
too much. We succeeded in locating our officers' mess 
at a farmhouse, where the geese are properly scandalized 
by our invasion. And I had the pleasure of partaking of 
my first feast of goose — you remember we were always 
going to roast one — as cooked very palatably by the mis- 
tress of this farmhouse, who would have been willing, I 
believe, to serve us for almost nothing, and who is over- 
whelmed by our largesse. She is as good a cook — in a 
different way — as Madame Delanne, and her home is 
probably even older than Madame Delanne's, for it was 
built in 1 61 7, as proclaimed by an inscription on the key- 
stone of the great door to the barn, which is constructed 
as a part of the dwelling proper, according to the universal 
custom. 

The people in this section are much cleaner than those 
in the places we have occupied before; the fields are 
neater, and there is an appearance of prosperity about the 
whole countryside. The soil here is more productive, 
which is, of course, the explanation of the better condition 
generally. 

We have got a lot of fun out of a graphophone which the 
officers of one of the other companies received from the 
States recently, along with a lot of fairly new records. I 
suppose we would have sneered at the little old music 
box had anyone started it up back home, but we sit 
around here in almost reverent silence listening to every 
note of every record from the comic monologues to the 
operatic selections. Some of the best records are by the 



No Near Ending 383 

Bro^vTi Brothers' saxaphone sextette, which played in 
Chin Chin, you remember. There are some good pieces 
from Jack 0' Lantern, too. I am sorry that the barcarole 
from Tales of Hoffman isn't in the canned repertoire but 
don't undertake to send it to me, for either it or the 
machine might be broken before it reached me. 

This reminds me to say, though, that I wish you would 

get • , if she is expert enough by this time, to typewrite 

for me a copy of Browning's Childe Roland to the Dark 
Tower Came. You may recall my admiration for this 
poem, which is, I think, one of the finest ever written. I 
have wished often for a copy of it since I have been over 
here. 

This, in turn, reminds me, by some queer quirk, to 
answer an inquiry which you made some time ago as to 
whether your letters to me are ever opened by the censor. 
No, none of your letters has ever been opened. I do not 
believe that there is much censoring of mail from the 
States, except in cases where there are grounds for 
suspicion. 

One of the clippings in one of your recent letters con- 
tained a reprint in The Evening Sun of an article by 
Mr. Simonds, and I agree with his view that The great 
battle of the war is now being fought on the left of the 
Alhed line. I do not beHeve that the battle will be a Ger- 
man success. Von Hindenburg is clearly going to be 
considerably overdue in his entry into Paris, as proclaimed 
by him for May i , but I do not believe that the German 
failure to win will mean an early end of the war. Judging 
from all that has happened in the past four years I expect 
to see the Germans hold on like grim death for a year or 
two. There are only two contingencies I know of which 
could bring the war to an abrupt end, in the only way it 
can end, and I have seen no indication of either. With- 
out being unnecessarily pessimistic, it is only fair to say 



384 One Who Gave His Life 

that I think the people of the United States have still to 
be awakened to the magnitude of the task before them 
and the degree of sacrifice that will be required of them. 

Do you remember the little newspaper man we met 
that day of the National Guard review while we were on 
the reviewing stand in front of the Public Library, Don 
Martin by name? I see that he is over here doing war 
corresponding for The New York Herald. There are 
articles signed by him in the Paris Edition every day. 
It would be odd if my next meeting with him should be 
over here somewhere. 

I regret to report that our small dog mascot has deserted 
us. He had reached that stage in life when the wanderlust 
asserts itself, and we had had trouble with him for some 
time because of his willingness to follow every olive drab 
uniform he saw, although he never had much use for the 
French sky blue. I think he finally managed to attach 
himself in spite of us to the artillery. 

Much love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 

Mills's newspaper friend mentioned in the letter above, 
Mr. Martin of The Herald, died in Paris of pneumonia in 
the winter of 191 8-1 9. 



CHAPTER XII 

Peace of a War Training School— Climatic Paradox of Sunny 
France — Inspiring Visit to Domremy — Terrible Cost of a 
Victory in Champagne. 

After one more "hitch in the trenches," a short one to 
judge from the dates of the last preceding and the follow- 
ing letter, Mills was now detached for his period of special 
instruction at the officers' training school at Gondrecourt 
on the edge of the Vosges mountain region, and some sixty 
miles to the west of Badonviller. He had, in fact, de- 
voted nearly all his spare time to study from his arrival in 
France. Besides a number of treatises on war which he 
took with him from America he bought others from time to 
time. Altogether, thirty-two military text-books were 
contained in his baggage when returned to his parents 
after his death. Besides these, there was a large amount 
of manuscript matter. A thick batch of typewritten and 
mimeographed foolscap sheets, clamped together, is 
titled: "First Corps Infantry School; Tactical Section. 
This Literature to be Retained by Students." It covers 
all sorts of details of army organization from the section 
and platoon up to the division. Instructions are given 
for the handhng of arms and for tactical manoeuvres. 
The different topics are covered by abstracts of lectures 
by French and English officers. 

This comprehensive document shows signs of much 
study, being margin-worn and stained from constant use. 
There are many notes in Mills's handwriting scattered 

2S 385 



386 One Who Gave His Life 

through the text, and the diagrams of section, platoon and 
company movements show additional lines drawn by him 
as he worked out the problems. Further, there is a thick 
blank-book with many pages full of his own pencil memo- 
randa of lectures which he heard. The books also contain 
marginal notes and marks emphasizing certain para- 
graphs. The whole mass of evidence shows that he re- 
turned to the painstaking and conscientious methods of 
his years at the University. He was a true student. He 
took nothing for granted, but carefully analyzed every 
proposition before adding it to his store of knowledge. 
Several papers which evidently were submitted for criti- 
cism have written across them, in a hand not his, the 
word, "Excellent." 

In respect to his army school work, it was not ambition 
that prompted his laborious efforts. What he thought 
about rank, promotion, has been seen. It was his sense of 
the officer's responsibility for the lives of his men that 
urged him on. This feeling has been seen in his letters. 
He talked on the subject to his mother, to his fellow officers 
in the regiment. It was a conscientious obsession with 
him. It made him glad, in view of his limited training, 
that he only held the rank of Second Lieutenant. One 
pungent sentence in his notebook under date of May 7, 
1918, summarizes his conscientious attitude: 

"The most promiscuous murderer in the world is the 
ignorant officer." 

His letters now take up his experiences during this 
school period. 

[First] Army Corps School 
[GoNDRECouRT, France], May 5, 1 91 8. 

Dear Mother: Well, here I am back at school again, 
quartered in a long wooden shack of a barrack for all the 
world like the one in which I began my Plattsburg school- 



Beautiful Nancy 387 

ing just a year ago, less one week, today. It is hard for me 
to realize that a whole year has passed since I have worn 
civilian clothes. 

This is quite a different school opening from the one at 
Plattsburg. Then the weather was miserably cold and 
rainy, and all of us cadets had a hard time of it huddling 
around the stoves to keep our patriotism warm. Today, 
the sun is smiling down upon France so brightly that at 
last we begin to see how the land got its name, "sunny." 
In fact, the weather has turned so warm that I have spent 
some time trying to buy summer underwear, my stock 
being stored in my other trunk back where we left our 
excess baggage on moving from our training area up to the 
line. My sleeveless sweater came off also, for the sum- 
mer, I hope, and I am luxuriating in a balmy atmosphere 
which is more welcome than I can tell you, after the 
months of cold weather without adequate heating facilities. 

On my way over to the training school, I spent what 
amounted to a three day vacation in one of the country's 
best known cities [Nancy], which is still a pleasant place to 
stay in, in spite of its shell-damaged condition. Another 
'fine hotel next door to the one I stayed at had been 
thoroughly wrecked by Boche aerial bombs, but that 
did not prevent my reHshing the luxurious experience of 
dining at tables covered with real Hnen and sleeping in a 
real bed. I spent my time inspecting very attractive 
public gardens, beautiful churches and the ancient 
chateau of the Dukes of Guise, now converted into a 
public school, in the gargoyles of which I was much in- 
terested. Those of Notre Dame will have to "go some" 
to beat these in grotesqueness. 

"I wish I could name the city I was in, but the hint 
about the Guise family should be sufficient. The censor- 
ship regulation regarding the naming of cities in letters is 
in many instances unnecessary, but often it is needful, so 



388 One Who Gave His Life 

the rule has to be ironclad. I might have taken a day or 
two more and gone to Paris, but I did not feel like doing 
the sight-seeing such a trip would have forced upon me. 
I was inclined to loaf, invite my soul and smoke Bill 
Cramer's good cigars. 

More again. Much love to Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

In his next letter, Mills indicated that his company had 
served, before his order to school, in different trenches 
from those of his earlier experiences. Notwithstanding 
the change, they were still in the neighborhood of Badon- 
viller. All the casualties in the Second Battalion of the 
middle and latter part of April and early May are re- 
corded as from that point. However, he happened upon 
much more agreeable ground as he cheerfully explains. 
He had previously been in the locality designated as 
G. C. 12, which was in the valley of a small stream, and 
consequently was a mudhole. The new post, G. C. 8, 
was not over a kilometer distant, but it was on high ground 
in what had been fairly thick woods. From the point of 
view of living, the new region was preferable. But trees 
and stumps are hard on the nerves, as they have a queer 
habit of seeming alive and in motion during the hours of 
darkness. 

May 8, 1918. 

Dear Mother : Some more interesting news for you. 
As my note of several days ago informed you, I am at 
school, but before assuming the student's r61e here in the 
[First] Army Corps School I had another one of those 
practical courses in the real school of war, the trenches. 
Do not think that I am minimizing discomforts and dan- 
gers for your sake when I say that this last hitch up front 
was really a pleasure. There were several reasons for 



Birds Still Gayly Singing 389 

this, of which the fact that we had an abnormally quiet 
tour of duty was not the greatest. From our rest billet in 
the village in the woods, we moved to a trench sector also 
in the woods, and located on high ground, where the 
trenches were absolutely dry even in the rainy weather 
which continued during the period of our stay there. 

You remember it was the extreme physical discomfort 
which I dwelt on as most appalling during my first service 
actually in the line, when I had the luck to draw a sector 
in which hip boots were none too high for the depth of the 
mud. This last time up, our trenches were only a good 
throwing distance from the Boche lines, so to speak, the 
Huns being located on opposing high ground with a 
narrow, densely wooded, steep-sloped valley running 
between. Not only did the upland trenches seem de- 
lightful after the mudhole we had floundered in previously, 
but the corner of the battlefront was actually beautiful, 
with the trees that cover it budding into leaf in the first 
warm, moist days of real spring. Of course there were 
many shattered tree trunks, but not nearly as many as 
you might suppose considering that the lines have op- 
posed each other at this same point unchanged since about 
the third month of the war. 

And the birds chattered and sang in the peaceful dell 
between the two armies, going about their business of 
spring housebuilding just as if there were never any roar 
of artillery to startle them. Strange indeed sounded the 
voice of a cuckoo that kept calling continuously through 
the stillness of that silent battlefield. 

Oddly enough, the support position was the one of most 
danger in this sector we last occupied. We all lived in 
dugouts which pierced deep into the reverse slope of a 
hill, so deep that Fritz couldn't get at them with his artil- 
lery. But he had tried hard enough. The whole land- 
scape that I surveyed from the doorway of my dugout had 



390 One Who Gave His Life 

been trimmed according to the best Kultural standards of 
landscape gardening. Not a tree in our front yard but 
had been hit by a shell, and beyond the road running 
along in front of our cave dwellings extended a forest of 
topless trees, many trunks standing askew, some of them 
roots up where they had been hurled out of shell holes of 
all sizes, running up to basins twenty feet across and deep 
enough to go swimming in. The "strafing" of this bit of 
woods must certainly have cost the Kaiser a pile of marks 
in the last four years. 

The road I spoke of was a favorite spot for Fritz to fling 
over a flock of shrapnel shells, "flying pigs," every now 
and then on the chance of catching some unwary poilus or 
Yanks, and I assure you that "No Loafing" signs were 
not necessary along tha t highway. The men — and officers 
— stuck pretty close around the doors of the dugouts, and 
whenever the first sound came like a whole hardware 
store flying through the air it was a sight to see the dive 
for the doorways. If the volley hit close, the men would 
curse Fritz fit to make your hair stand on end for trying 
to kill them, and if it went wild they cursed him for his 
poor marksmanship. Either way he got cursed to a finish. 

As a matter of fact, we were bothered very little by 
such visitations during our stay . Every indication pointed 
to the Boche's leaving very few troops on our end of the 
line in concentrating for the great drive in the west. The 
raids pulled by the enemy at various points at this end of 
the line seem to have been made by a comparatively few 
shock troops especially picked and transported from point 
to point for this purpose, with a view to making the Allies 
keep as many troops as possible here. The * ' flying circus 
we have nicknamed this special detachment of Huns, and 
our men sat around all the time we were up, polishing their 
guns and automatic rifles and just naturally praying that 
it would ' ' put on a show ' ' for them. 



Elaborate Dugouts 39i 

"Lieutenant," said one of my automatic gunners to me, 

"if that circus gets fresh with us 

there won't be enough of it left to make a side show!" 

He was just about right, too, for our positions were as 
pretty as I ever expect to hold. Manned as we had 
them, they would be impregnable against even overwhelm- 
ing numbers without long and concentrated artillery 
preparation, which would allow plenty of time for bring- 
ing up sufficient troops to stop even a drive of the mag- 
nitude to justify such artillery preparation. I would 
consider myself lucky to receive an attack in such a po- 
sition, located in the foothills of the mountains, and 
constituting in itself a little Verdun. 

I wish I could send you a picture of the dugouts in 
which we lived. In addition to being highly admirable 
from a utilitarian standpoint when something consider- 
ably harder than raindrops is falling, their exteriors, in so 
far as they have exteriors, are admirable in point of archi- 
tectural construction. And their front yards had been 
fenced in with little rustic fences restraining walks that 
wind through miniature gardens out to the road. There 
are flower beds in which flowers are actually blossoming 
around artistic centerpieces worked out with Boche shells 
which failed to "strafe" when they came over. Un- 
doubtedly the flowers were formerly sown in patterns by 
the poilus, but, now that we have relieved them, the 
flowers are springing this season from the seeds of those 
that withered last Fall. 

I must not forget to mention the flock of cats that in- 
habit the underground village, and wax fat and fatter on 
the scraps from the kitchens. There was one half-grown 
gray Tommy that thought my cot just about the best place 
he had ever struck to nap on. These cats we found quite 
tame, as if they had been petted by all our predecessors. 
They must know what the klaxon gas warning means and 



392 One Who Gave His Life 

streak out for the gas-proof dugouts when it sounds; 
otherwise it seems to me they would have been "out of 
luck " before this. Unless a shell came mighty close these 
cats paid it no heed whatever. 

The men got lots of fun out of their cave dwellings, 
posting signs at their doors christening them after this 
fashion :" Wiggle Inn " ( strongly connotative of ' ' cooties ' ' ) , 
"Stagger Inn," etc. One of the new men who have come 
to us recently was frank enough to write home that ' ' this 
is not a very wild sector, but it's plenty wild enough for 
me." They all stood their first experience well, though. 
They are a very good bunch from pretty nearly all over 
the U. S., and I am glad to see the N. G. enlisted men 
recognize them as such. 

I left the trenches just a little ahead of the company in 
order to come to school. Just before leaving I received 
your first letter of April in which you spoke of the proba- 
bility of your going South. I suppose the next letter will 
be from Statesville. I am sorry to hear of the state of 
Aunt Sallie's health but at her advanced age there was 
nothing else to be expected. I will try to number my 
letters consecutively again now that I seem to be settled 
for a while. While on the move, it was impossible to 
keep track of all the letters I sent or received. One of the 
men wrote home that he had the Wandering Jew and the 
rolling stone both beaten for perpetual motion, and he was 
about right. I received the package of pictorial sections, 
including the Life, and was glad to get them all. Lieuten- 
ant Nelson told me to tell you that the Life picture about 
the soldier and his box of candy hit me just exactly right, 
and also that you sent just the kind of candy he likes best. 
It certainly was good. 

I am glad to know that you are investing my allotment 
money in Liberty Bonds, but I do not want you to invest 
it all that way. Spend some of it for things you want, 



Trench Souvenirs 393 

whether you need them or not. If I get back O. K., as I 
expect to, I won't need the money, and if I don't get back 
I won't need it, so I can't lose. If you are South I suppose 
Sweet is appreciating the significance of the saying: "As 
big as all outdoors." I would like to have seen him the 

first time he was turned loose in that big yard at 's. 

Whether you are there or not, be sure to remember me to 
them all. I will write you something of the school later. 
Much love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 

[First] Army Corps School, May 12, 1918. 

Dear Dad: I am sending you a box that hasn't any- 
thing of value in it, its principal contents being two of my 
old hats. We cannot wear the hats over here, as they have 
been replaced for service by the small cap, cut on the 
French model. The caps were adopted particularly be- 
cause they can be worn under the helmet, and will keep 
the head warm in cold weather. I might just as well 
have thrown the hats away, I suppose, but I thought you 
and Mother might like to have them. And, then, too, the 
Stetson was the first hat I wore in the army, and the other 
one I wore at Plattsburg, so both have certain associations 
because of which I would like to have them for the future. 
Both can be reblocked and made fit to wear. When I put 
on cits' clothes again I will probably retain the Stetson 
part of my uniform until it is pas bofi, as the French say, 
and I have to buy new headgear. 

The two bits of wood are pieces of a stick that I carried 
while in the trenches. The mud on them is real trench 
mud, so don't clean it off. I thought you might appreciate 
them as souvenirs more than something that might cost 
a lot of money. 

I congratulate you on being in uniform also, and I am 
quite certain that if the Home Guard has to "croak" any 
Fritzes, nobody will enjoy the croaking any more than you. 



394 One Who Gave His Life 

The school work is progressing very well. It is much 
the same as the Plattsburg routine, except that we are 
learning the new dope that has come out since then. As 
a matter of fact, it is a sort of rest camp for me, in spite of 
the fact that we are kept on the jump all the time, for I 
had been up where "we have a 4th of July celebration 
every day," as the men put it in writing home, so long 
that it's a relief to be where things are quiet. 

At the present writing the German drive is still causing 
no great concern over here. There is no doubt that it 
will beat itself out for nothing proportionate to the cost in 
German lives. The spirit of the French and British, both, 
is fine, and I can see nothing in the situation to cause the 
Berlin crowd any joy. Sooner or later they will get the 
gate, and the harder they make the Allies' job, the harder 
the terms of peace will be for them. I hope that this finds 
both you and Mother well. Much love. 

QUINCY. 

May 15, 1918. 

Dear Mother : Just look who's here in the two photo- 
graphs inclosed. I had them taken for a joke, and they 
are — on me. You will note how slouchy I became lying 
around the trenches. I lost many pounds in weight, also. 
The drill here has done much already to restore my set-up. 

This Red Cross envelope I inclose may furnish you with 
some clue as to where I spent my three days' holidays on 
the way to the ist Army Corps School at this place. The 
cards I have written to you on I consider among the best 
battlescapes I have seen. 

I received the box of candy and tobacco from Elvy 
yesterday. The fudge and mints were marvelously fresh 
— and so good. 

Love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 



Weather Perversity 395 

The city in which he spent the hoHday was, as noted 
already, Nancy, one of the most beautiful places in France, 
full of history and tradition. He sent home a book of 
views of its most striking features. 

May 19, 1918. 

Dear Mother : Had not the weather turned over a new 
leaf and given us the last two glorious, sunny days I would 
have come to the conclusion that Hartman, my striker, 
had just about sized the thing up right when he said, 
' ' They do everything backward in France. ' ' It had rained 
every day previously since my arrival at school, and, 
considering the preceding weeks of rain, regarding which I 
have already written you, I was beginning to cherish the 
suspicion that the name, "Sunny France," had been be- 
stowed in a more or less Pickwickian sense. Hartman 
doesn't think any better of the British, for he delivered 
the verdict on them that "they make everything square." 
This unfavorable observation was prompted by the 
English army shoes, a number of which were issued to our 
men. He got a pair, and their square toes, heels and 
counters hurt his feet. 

Much to my regret I haven't Hartman here with me. 
While I am with the company he, in his capacity of 
striker or orderly, keeps my boots cleaned, oiled and 
polished, and cleans up my quarters — when we officers 
have any quarters, which is not often when we are in the 
field. 

This mud here is altogether the stiff est, most tenacious 
I have ever struck. The South Boston mud you are al- 
ways reminiscing about isn't a circumstance in compari- 
son. Consequently I have had to do a lot of cleaning up, 
as we are required to keep as neat as possible. The change 
from the front line is a sort of vacation, as I wrote you 
before, but the course leaves hardly any time between 



39^ One Who Gave His Life 

7 A.M. and 9 p.m. daily, and I am not going to attempt to 
write long letters while here, as I want to devote all my 
energy to getting all I can out of the course. I know you 
will understand and approve. 

I had more time for writing while up front than I have 
had anywhere else in the army. It is a curious fact that 
because of the easy time they have while in the trenches 
the men prefer being right in the front line to the support 
and reserve positions, where they are worked incessantly 
on carrying parties. 

Love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 



May 22, 1918. 

Dear Mother : All at once the lilacs are in bloom. Their 
purple splendor reminds me of the bowers in Central 
Park. But I have never seen anywhere else anything like 
the golden carpet of dandelions and buttercups which 
stretches here over the rolling hills of France. I inclose 
a wild flower of a sort I had never seen before. It appears 
to belong to the tulip family. 

Your reference to the suggestion from someone in au- 
thority that too many letters are being sent to the men 
over here prompts me to say that any restriction would 
be a great mistake. If the men's communication with 
home and friends is at all limited, they will be dissatisfied, 
and dissatisfaction and good morale do not go together in 
an army. 

The news of the crash in the price of eggs in New York 
reminds me to tell you that eggs we have been able to get 
in the greatest plenty in France. I am heartily tired of 
them. We have to pay from 3^ to 6 francs, usually 
about 4^, per dozen for them. Fresh milk and butter 
are scarce because all the dairies are drained for the cheese 
foundries, which seem to be the greatest national vice. 



Wild Flowers 397 

Summer is here in full blast, and the sun is blazing hot. 
All of us students have that tired feeling to beat the band. 
Love to Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

May 26, 1918. 

Dear Mother: Here are several flowers that I col- 
lected while on a manoeuvre yesterday and stuck into my 
gas mask pouch. I don't know whether you will be able 
to make much out of them, but they interested me as being 
different from the wild flowers I am familiar with back 
home. 

You can imagine what a beautiful effect the red 
splotches of the poppies make in fields yellow and white 
with asters and Queen Anne's lace and starred with the 
old reliable daisies. The yellow clusters inclosed grow on 
small trees, which are literally festooned with them, 
transforming whole hillsides into bowers. The wild 
asters, purple and yellow, which I send, are as large as 
some of the smaller garden varieties in the States. It 
seems to me that the flowers in the fields are more luxuriant 
and more beautiful than I have ever seen them before. 

There are many sheep in this section, and it is not at all 
unusual to see a big fiock of them, guarded by an old man 
or a girl, aided always by a faithful and voluble dog, 
browsing across one of these long, rolling hillsides, a regu- 
lar Mauve landscape by the still greater master. Nature. 
And over such fields the clouds float in regular Maxfield 
Parrish skies. At last it is really "Sunny France." I 
understand better even than I did last winter why it is 
the painters' paradise. Quincy. 

May 29, 1918. 

Dear Mother: The inclosure. Souvenir de Domremy, 
explains itself. Having the opportunity to visit the 



398 One Who Gave His Life 

immortal Joan's birthplace, naturally I did not miss it. 
The day was one of the most delightful I ever spent. 
Domremy impresses you as being today exactly as it. was 
when The Maid tended her sheep on the slopes overlooking 
it, a quaint village almost wholly without modern marks 
and almost exactly like the rest of the hamlets which dot 
the valleys and sometimes the hilltops of France. Not 
only are there no hotels there for the accommodation of 
tourists, a thing which surprised me greatly, but I even 
had to walk a kilometer to a neighboring town to get lunch. 

Joan's home and the ancient church in which she was 
baptized are the most interesting places in Domremy, of 
course, because of their antiquity, but the church which 
has been raised to her on the site where she heard the 
voices bid her take up the sword for France is more than 
worth a pilgrimage such as I took to see it. It contains 
the finest mural paintings I have ever seen. They depict 
six scenes in the short eventful period of Joan's life. In 
coloring, particularly, they are marvelous. 

Speaking of the pilgrimage to Domremy, another 
Lieutenant and myself set out to make it on foot, a pretty 
long hike, but we were lucky enough to catch trucks both 
ways. And in one of the trucks I found members of a 
hospital unit who informed me that the division in which 
I should have been had I not been transferred is now all 
over here. So all of my friends are here now. I wonder 
very much what kind of troops they are. I am sending 
you herewith some buttons from the uniform which I wore 
every day from my arrival in France up to my arrival 
here. While I am here, I am dressing up daily after the 
work is done, and I surely do enjoy getting into good 
clothes and swinging a cane. Incidentally, I am wearing 
for work now the same khaki uniform which I wore at the 
three Plattsburg camps I attended. It is rendering 
yeoman's service. 



Spirit of Joan of Arc 399 

The resumption of German activity is surprising only in 
its tardiness in starting; the Huns do not usually permit 
such lulls when they once start an offensive. Love to 
Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

P. S. The bit of honeysuckle inclosed I picked in the 
yard of the house where Jeanne d'Arc was born. It 
grows in as great profusion there as around our old place 
at home. 

QUINCY. 

He also sent home a book of views in and about Dom- 
remy, showing many of the places mentioned in his letter, 
as well as relics of The Maid and art memorials in her 
honor. Further, he wrote on an illustrated card, showing 
Joan's birthplace, to Mrs. Morris, already mentioned. He 
spoke of his visit and went on to say all Americans going 
to Europe should make the pilgrimage. He added: 
"The spirit of the French today is that of Joan of Arc. 
It was a most delightful day. ... It is a gloriously 
beautiful country at this season." 

June 2, 1918. 

Dear Mother: You may have thought I had a lean 
and hungry look in the last two pictures I sent home along 
with the sections of my trench stick. I was thinned down 
by the service, but if you thought I was thin you just 
ought to have seen the Captain before he left us, or 
Lieutenant Younkin when I left the company. Their 
clothes hung on them like bags, as did Captain Casey's; I 
know you remember him. You will be relieved to learn 
that I am fattening up again with the good chow here. 

Our fare is really sumptuous; much better than you 
folks are having back in the States, I'm sure. We always 



400 One Who Gave His Life 

have butter and plenty of white bread, biscuits, pie and 
cake — and doughnuts. It is nothing unusual for us to 
have steak and potatoes, peas, corn, fried carrots, radishes 
and pickles and dessert at a meal. Oatmeal and hot 
cakes are alternated at breakfast. The coffee is always 
good. So you see we are in pretty fine luck. Also, we 
have purchased the makins' — the men at my table, I 
mean — and hired a cook to make up for us batches of pies 
and doughnuts for midnight lunches. 

In addition to the excellent fare, the work has continued 
to be a pipe. And I have had the pleasure of getting ac- 
quainted with officers from all over the United States. 
In fact, I am inclined to think that insufficient stress is 
laid on the fact that this is a school and not a vacation 
centre. I have learned a good deal, but I will undertake 
to learn more and have just as good a time in any week 
under proper conditions and competent instructors. 
Speaking of other officers, I have met here the only other 
man, with the exception of Quincy Sharpe, who has the 
same name as mine. He is Quincy C. Ayres, of Missis- 
sippi, and is a 2nd Lieutenant of Engineers. Many of 
the men at this school have not been up front, and the 
respect in which they hold us veterans is amusing. We, 
of course, vie with each other in preparing them for the 
worst. 

I inclose a card picture of the church erected in honor of 
Joan of Arc. How the Huns would delight in destroying 
such an edifice! The progress they have made in recent 
days makes you feel that something is wrong that such a 
power of destruction should be suffered to go so far. But 
there will be a reckoning in time. 

The order inclosed may interest you. It was my first 
order to go into the trenches. Do not show it to everyone. 

Much love to Dad and yourself. 

Quincy. 



Order to the Trenches 401 

The order enclosed in this letter read as follows : 

U. S. Army Field Message 
From P. C. 

At P. A. Malgrejean. 

Date: 3 April, 191 8. Hour: 9:50 a.m. 

To Lieut. Mills. 

The 4th platoon under your command will relieve Lt. 
Pearsall, G.C. 12, today; relief commencing at 3 p.m. and being 
completed by 4 p.m., in small groups of not over 6 men. See 
that all men have 220 rounds of ammunition. You will not 

take over men with you. See that Sgt. Osier is advised 

so he can reaiTange chow details. Younkin. 

This refers evidently to the tour of duty described in the 
last chapter in the letters of April 6 and 9. That experi- 
ence, it appears, was Mills's first of actual personal duty 
in the trenches. When he was at the front in February, 
as is shown by his letter of March 15 to Mr. Luby, he was 
assigned to the battalion staff, and, while under constant 
artillery fire, he did not serve in the very front lines. 

From Lt. Mills; At ist Army Corps School. 

Date: June 9, 1918; Hour: 10 a.m. 
To: His Mother; How sent: By U. S. Mail. 

Here's the regulation field message heading form, which 
I know will interest you. 

I am in receipt of your letters up to May 18, and am 
glad to know that you have made the S latesville visit. All 
the home news interests me greatly. 

If you have returned to New York I judge that you are 
having some more interesting experiences there. The 
only thing that surprises me about the U-boat raid off the 
coast is that it was so long in coming. The German threat 
to bomb New York City has been duly noticed here, and 
while it sounds bombastic I would not be surprised if the 
Huns found a way to carry out the threat. If they do 
26 



402 One Who Gave His Life 

the only result will be to make the Americans really mad, 
just as the air raids on England affected the British. It 
must be strange for New York to be dimming its lights for 
war. Certainly if the Huns can reach so far we should 
be able to find a way to knock the roof off of Berlin. 

In regard to the Lorraine cross, I can give you no in- 
formation as to the reason for its double design, but the 
thistle is an emblem of Lorraine as well as of Scotland. 

Don't feel badly about not being able to send me pack- 
ages: I'd prefer the ship space to be taken up with muni- 
tions to be used in blowing the Boche to hell. Thanks 
for the clippings, and for the quotation regarding the 
presence of Bulgarians and Turks on our front. But there 
were no Bulgarians and Turks opposite us. That was 
just "dope," of which the supply is always abundant in 
the army. We know always who is opposite us because 
there are always Germans in ones and twos and twenties 
sneaking over and giving themselves up. That they are 
doing so is one of the most encouraging signs of the war. 
They report that, while their officers claim to believe that 
Germany will win the war, the men in the ranks have no 
such faith, and also that, while the officers live pretty well, 
the fare of the common soldier is rotten. They say that 
if the Americans were not so keen to shoot at every Hun 
they get a glimpse of many more Germans would give 
themselves up. They report, too, that they are told by 
their officers that the American troops are poor soldiers, 
but that they have found out from personal experience 
their officers are liars. 

We get the news from the front here, and have just 
heard of an attempted raid on my regimental sector in 
which the Huns lost more than twenty dead and six 
prisoners, and got no prisoners themselves. Our loss: 
one man killed. The prisoners said that the German 
raiding party had to be tirged out of its own trenches at 



Gas Casualties 4^3 

the point of the bayonet. They say that the truth as to 
the real fighting quaUty of the American soldier is now 
well known to the German private, and that the knowledge 
that there are 10,000,000 plus to come over has had a 
great effect on the German army's state of mind. 

Taking our regiment as an example, some six raids 
attempted against us have not netted a prisoner for the 
Huns, who have lost instead more than 200 dead, not to 
mention several prisoners and their wounded. We were 
told in the course of a lecture yesterday that a German 
sergeant had presented himself in the i68th's lines several 
days ago announcing himself as an American prisoner, 
and warning of an impending gas attack. Thanks to this 
warning, the attack caused a minimum of losses, and the 
Huns were chewed up savagely when they tried to raid 
afterward. 

Regarding your inquiry as to my personal experience 
with gas: I had two very slight touches, one when some 
gas drifted in from a salvo of gas shells thrown on a 
neighboring battery, and one when I helped load into an 
ambulance some artillery men who had been gassed and 
whom we wanted to get out of town before a bombard- 
ment, which didn't materialize after all. After the am- 
bulance left I found that I had got a sHght dose from the 
clothing of the men we handled. As they tell us here at 
school : ' ' Gas continues to be the most deadly weapon of 
the war because men will persist in being damn fools." 
More than 95 per cent of the gas casualties ate due to 
carelessness. You may be sure that gas will never get me 
for that reason. I have learned a good deal about gas 
here, too, and I expect to be able to safeguard my men by 
my knowledge. 

I think the snapshots of Dad very poor, but am glad to 
have them. He favored me with an epistolary war dance 
of joy over the fashion in which several communities near 



404 One Who Gave His Life 

New York have shut down on German and Hearst papers 
— the same thing — and I join him heartily in the 
celebration. 

I inclose a photograph I had taken in Toul, where I 
spent a Decoration Day holiday, meeting there a mem- 
ber of my old Plattsburg company, and having a most 
enjoyable time. Toul is a small city, but one of the 
prettiest places I have been in in France. This post card 
picture I had taken in Toul was made in a little shop just 
opposite the cathedral, which is beautiful. It is the finest 
piece of architecture, as to exterior, that I have seen, but 
its interior is less pleasing than that of the Winchester, 
England, cathedral. 

The inclosed card from Mme. Delanne indicates her 
address. Censorship is essential to prevent information 
of immediate movements of troops, but I do not see what 
possible help it could be to the Huns to know that I re- 
sided at that old inn some months ago. I am sending 
you also a card marked "A Review in the Ruins of Bac- 
carat." The last photograph I sent you was taken in a 
small gallery in these ruins, which resulted, by the way, 
not from bombardment but from the application of the 
Hun torch while the city was temporarily in the enemy's 
hands. From this card you will see that many sorts of 
soldiers took part in the review in the ruins. 

My regards to all the folks and friends, and much love 
to Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

June 12, 1918. 

Dear Mother: Many times since I have been at 
school I have wondered how it was that the British ever 
got their reputation for lack of a sense of humor. The 
bright and shining lights of a course which is more 
motononous than it should be have been the hours in the 



British Humor 405 

lecture room listening to Col. H and Captain S- 



assigned from the British army to our teaching staff. 
Every man in school looks forward with genuine pleasure 
to the talks by these men, who keep the Hsteners chuck- 
ling all the time, and yet teach them more, almost, than 
do all the rest of the instructors put together. The fun in 
these men is so irrepressible that it bubbles over all the 
time. I am much more an admirer of the British character 
after knowing them than I ever thought I would be. 

We have got equal diversion out of a sergeant-major 
from the famous Guards Division who drills us in close 
order, torpedoing every H right out of its proper position 
in the language to one where it doesn't belong, in giving his 
commands. He is one of the best drill masters, the best 
in fact, I ever drilled under. I only wish I were half as 
good. These British non-commissioned officers are more 
of the non-humorous sort of British, though; I think it 
must have been from the characteristics of the middle 
class which they represent that the race got the reputation 
for not being able to see a joke. You have to be on your 
dignity much more with the non-com than with the British 
officer. They exact dignity from an officer in a way 
which the American soldier would do well to copy. Such 
an attitude means more to morale in an army than can be 
expressed in words. 

Nor is there any injury done to our greatly over- 
worshiped ' ' democracy ' ' in the British non-com's attitude. 
In fact, I incline to the belief that the British people are 
more truly democratic than ours; their government is 
certainly no less democratic — the crown is such an empty 
form that it may correctly be described as powerless — 
and is assuredly far more responsible. Indeed, could the 
common or garden variety of American comprehend how 
fully dictatorial his government has been as to how and 
when the U. S. should make this war, he would stand 



4o6 One Who Gave His Life 

aghast at his country's being called either democratic or 
republican. 

Very much the same sort of morale I speak of in the 
British army is notable also in the French. And in my 
opinion representative government is more successful in 
this country than in ours for the reason that grim necessity, 
in the shape of a constantly menacing Germany, has made 
the French people think and realize that central authority 
has been essential to the survival of the nation. As 
great as the cost of this war must be in men and money I 
do not believe that the price will be too high if it only 
starts the American people thinking, and puts an end to 
their swallowing of eternal flattery from a horde of poli- 
ticians who are worse as rulers than any royal family 
could be, because they are in the jobs only for what they 
can get out of them in the present, and have not even the 
incentive of building the government more strongly for 
what they can get out of it in the future. 

I am sending you a booklet of views which I do not 
think the censor could object to as the Boche know as 
well as we do what they have done to the city in question. 
Hope it reaches you. Much love to Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

P. S. : Some more flowers ; they get prettier all the time. 

June 15, 1918. 

Dear Mother: School, like everything else, comes to 
an end, so I am on my way back to Company G. I hate 
to leave the quaint old stone- walled gardens of this town, 
into which the warm sun has coaxed the figures of ancient 
sunbonneted ladies who remind me of Grandmother in the 
garden which she so dearly loved to supervise. And I am 
departing before learning the history of the mediaeval, 
round-turreted chateau about which the low stone build- 



Air Combats 407 

ings of the village are grouped. It is a tower with a 
history which dominates the scene, I know, not because 
anyone ever told me so, but because every inch of its 
conical roof is eloquent with romance. 

Now that I am departing I suppose you will be appre- 
hensive about me again, but perhaps it will reconcile you 
to know that even my school has not been danger proof. 
The Huns some time ago dropped an aerial message 
stating that they knew the educational institution was 
there, and promising to dump a little hardware on it when 
they could spare the time from more urgent business. 
We've expected the promise to be carried out several 
times during the present session. The enclosed card in- 
dicates the size and sort of hardware that the Gothas drop 
on such expeditions. No raids developed, but we soon 
got used to seeing hostile airplanes sailing overhead, and 
hardly a day has gone by without an air battle some- 
where near. The other day, two Boche fliers appeared 
and peppered away with their machine guns at our can- 
tonment from an altitude too great for any material 
damage to us. A telephone message to a neighboring 
American aviation field brought two United States pilots 
into the air and we received word soon afterwards that 
it was a case of Boche fi?ii tout de suite. Our aviators got 
both their adversaries. 

It was too bad Lufbery was not equally successful. I 
did not know him personally, but I have met the man who 
is his successor as the most noted American flier, Douglas 
Campbell. Campbell's brother, a Lieutenant of En- 
gineers, has been at school here and in the same barracks 
with me. The aviator Campbell is one of the quietest, 
most unassuming men I have ever known, entirely free of 
the blatancy which is too frequently a mark of American 
character. To talk with him you would think him too 
mild a person to down two Boche planes in one day, chase 



408 One Who Gave His Life 

a third back to Germany, and then loop the loop over the 
German batteries just to show them that their shrapnel 
doesn't make a damn bit of difference to him. Consider- 
ing the name he bears, I know you will say he couldn't 
help being a soaring success. 

Mr. Simonds's conclusions on the German offensive 
are sound. It is hard to see the Huns gain an inch, but I 
believe that the Allies are playing the only game whereby 
they can be certain of victory. If Foch only seizes the 
right minute to strike, the war may be ended before any 
one realizes it. This is certainly within the range of 
possibility. 

The booklet of views I mailed you three or four days 
ago will show you some of the places I have lived in and 
become familiar with in recent months. I was lucky 
enough to get the booklet on my Decoration day visit 
to Toul. 

In regard to your allusion to the improvement in mail 
service at your end of the line, I know you will be plad 
to learn that the same is true over here. Hope it keeps up. 

I sent Wallace Hoffmann a note yesterday. He has 
done a very fine thing. 

I am now wearing my gold chevron indicating six 
months of service in France. Hope I can get to flash it 
on some of my Plattsburg schoolmates before they get 
theirs. 

I inclose along with the picture of the Gotha bomb a 
gentler souvenir in the shape of several more flowers of 
another sort I never saw before. I hope these flowers I 
send press well enough for you to get some idea of how 
they look when fresh. And here is another picture I had 
taken recently. What do you think of this one? And 
what do you think of the moustache? Tres beau, the 
mademoiselles call it. 

QUINCY. 



In Playful Mood 409 

p. S. Should the picture I sent recently (which was 
taken just when I left the trenches) have caused you any 
apprehension as to my thinness the one inclosed should 
dispel it. The school fare fills out all corners. 

QUINCY. 

This seems to be a favorable point for the introduction 
of what may be called an episode of Mills's letter writing, 
a few extracts from cards and letters not addressed to his 
parents. His fondness for children and his facility in 
making friends with them has been spoken of. One of 
those whom he greatly liked and who responded with 
affection was Miss Alice Hale Morris, daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. John Morris, spoken of elsewhere. The friendship 
began when she had not emerged into her teens. When 
Mills went to Europe she was close upon High School age 
as appears. He wrote her a round dozen of little mis- 
sives, which not only contribute to his picture of life 
in war but also in their whimsical gallantry to his self- 
revelation. 

First of all there was a note from Governor's Island, 
sent on October 30, 191 7, inviting her and her mother to 
visit him and see the camp. "We have big tents," he 
explains, "with stoves in them and are real comfortable 
in spite of the wind and cold." He had not been able to 
get home yet but expected to do so soon. He adds, "I 
hope to see you even if I have to wake you out of your 
beauty sleep." However, a note sent via Washington 
and postmarked December 21 regrets that he "had to 
run away without seeing her and her dear parents again, 
but when I got home it was too late to wake you up." 
He asks her to run in and see his mother "as often as you 
can for she loves you very much and you will be lots of 
company for her. " " My love to you, ' ' he concludes, ' * and 
write to me as often as you can." 



410 One Who Gave His Life 

Then comes a Christmas day note : 

Somewhere in France, 

December 25, 1917. 

Dear Little Lady: I opened your Christmas pack- 
ages this morning, just as you told me to do, and found 
just the thing I wanted most at that particular minute — a 
box of cough drops. Not that I have much of a cold, but 
I had told a brother officer to buy me some cough drops 
when he went to town yesterday and the darn fool forgot 
it. To tell you the truth, I think he forgot nearly every- 
thing else looking at the pretty French girls. Anyway, 
I forgive him — that's the proper Christmas spirit — in 
fact I forgive everybody but the Germans everything. 
But I spent part of the day practising up to shoot at 
them. We work all the time, you see, except when we're 
making signs to the pretty French girls and eating Christ- 
mas dinner with real turkey and "fixins!" I hope that 
you have had a fine Christmas and that you and your 
dear parents are well and happy. Write to me often and 
read my letters home; maybe I won't have time to write 
as often as you do. 

With love and kisses, Quincy. 

P. S. I didn't say "thank you" for your Christmas 
present on the other side of this sheet, but you know I 
meant it. Q. S. M. 

A French postal card "Bonne Annee," showing a very 
Gallic boy and girl exchanging salutes in a wood, while 
two robins look on from a bough, had this inscription: 
' ' Much love and many kisses to my little lady. Q. S. M. " 
And on another card on January 15, is this: 

Dear Little Lady: Since I cannot receive birthday 
greetings I'm sending them. If the mail service doesn't 
improve I'll soon begin to believe something must have 



spirit of France 411 

happened to the United States. . . . Lots of love and 
hopes that you are happy. Q. 

He thanks her for a Christmas card received on Janu- 
ary 31. "Winter is pretty nearly over here before my 
Christmas mail arrives." And again on a card post- 
marked February 7 : 

Many thanks for your two sweet letters that have come 
with Mother's. My, what a smart girl you are, to be going 
to High School. I am going to a school, too — all us Ameri- 
can soldiers are — for which we have to get up before day- 
light and from which we are not turned loose until after 
dark. And we're learning lots. Q. S. M. 

Love to all. 

Under the same date, but postmarked February 12, he 
wrote a letter : 

[St. Ciergues], France, 
February 7, 191 8. 

Dear Little Lady : Here is a little medallion I bought 
for you because I thought it so pretty. It isn't solid gold, 
but it is good and I hope you will like it. Joan of Arc 
is one of the most admirable characters in history to me. 
And the French people of to-day have something — a great 
deal — of her spirit. 

I wrote you a card the other day saying that we are all 
going to school over here to learn how to lick the Boche. 
Our school bell is a bugle that calls us out at 5 45 a.m. and 
we assemble now by moonlight. And it is moonlight again 
when the bugle turns us loose at bedtime. How would 
you like those school hours? This is just preparatory 
school, too, for when we get our high schooling and college 
courses in the trenches w^e will be in class 24 hours a day. 
So you see you are lucky just to be going to High School 
back in New York city. 



412 One Who Gave His Life 

The school-children over here all dress alike, each one 
wearing a black smock, something like a wrapper, over 
his or her clothes, with a little peaked hood which can be 
put over the head in bad weather. The smock isn't a bad 
idea either, for the dirt which would otherwise get all over 
the children's clothes when they romp is all rubbed on it. 
And there's lots of dirt over here. 

It is certainly good of you and your parents to spend so 
much time with my folk. Mother mentions in every let- 
ter she writes how considerate you all are. I really believe 
that she is having such a good time with you, she isn't a 
bit lonely. 

With lots of love for you and the warmest regards for 
Mamma and Daddy, Your friend, 

Q. S. M. 

Then there is an undated card, which must have been 
enclosed in a letter, showing a ruined village in Lorraine. 
On the back of it : 

This card will give you some idea of that sort of kultur- 
blasted land we are living in. The more I see of what the 
Germans have done to this country and the people who 
live in it — particularly the women and girls — the worse I 
hate them. They are a race that should be wiped off the 
face of the earth — the women of them most of all. But 
you will be thinking I am too blood-thirsty. Well, so 
ought you to be, and all American women. 

Regards to your Mother and Daddy and lots of love for 
yourself. Q. S. M. 

On March 19: 

Dear Little Lady: I am waiting expectantly the 
arrival of your picture, for I've heard already how sweet 
you looked in your graduation frock. 



Fought Like Veterans 4^3 

Your letter was awaiting mc when I got back from the 
trenches, for we've been up to do our first bit. The 
trenches aren't nearly as bad as you might think they are, 
but we made those on the other side of the line too hot for 
Fritz. When the Huns found that there were Americans 
opposite them they undertook to touch us up, and we came 
back at them so hard they just naturally had to move 
out of their first and second lines and stay out. The 
coolness of our men was amazing, and so was their eager- 
ness to get at the Boches. The French say the Americans 
fought like veterans — and the Huns know they did. 

A card of April 22, acknowledging letters and cards, 
comes next, with a picture of captured German flags dis- 
played at the Invalides in Paris. Then comes, July 7 
the last, alas, of all: 

Dear Little Lady: I received your photograph last 
night and it is such a pretty picture. I am really much 
flattered to have a share in the thoughts of such a 
pretty young lady. I am sending you a little picture of 
myself in return. It isn't nearly as nice as yours, but 
maybe you'll appreciate it. What do you think of my 
moustache anyway? All of us officers in G Co. are grow- 
ing them. Maybe we're trying to camouflage ourselves as 
Frenchmen. You know, it is a very rare thing to see a 
clean-shaven Frenchman. 

From what Dad has had to say in his letters, you folks 
have been mighty kind to him in Mother's absence. He 
seems to be as busy as a whole hive of bees with his Home 
Defence League, and I am glad for him to have it to oc- 
cupy his mind. Besides, he may have an opportunity to 
do some truly useful work in that way. Mother is making 
has made, doubtless, by now — a much longer stay 



414 One Who Gave His Life 

South than I ever expected her to, and I am glad of it, 
for the longer her visit the better off she will be, I 
think. 

We had a real quiet 4th of July, but no doubt will have 
all the opportunity we want for celebrating later on. We 
have found France delightfully cool thus far, but very 
dusty. In the winter it's the mud and in the summer the 
dust that plagues us. The roads dry very quickly after 
rain, for all the soil I have seen here is porous. There are 
much larger sections of woodland than I expected to see, 
but you have only to look at the straight lines in which the 
trees stand, like soldiers at parade, to know that all the 
forests have been set out by hand. And the French will 
just about shoot you at sunrise if you cut a sapling as big 
as your wrist. We will have to be as careful of our 
American trees if we are to have any forests left. 

Thank your Mother for the note I had from her some 
time since, and be sure to remember me to your Daddy. 
With lots of love and kisses, 

QUINCY. 

The following letter to his aunt, Mrs. J. L. Cowan, was 
written on July 4 : 

Dear M. L. : Here is the latest copy of myself. What 
do you think of me by this time ? 

As incongruous as it may seem, I am spending one of 
the quietest 4th's of my existence. No doubt, I will ex- 
perience plenty of celebrating of the most exciting sort 
shortly to make up for the present ennui. One thing 
about the army game nowadays, it's never dull if you be- 
long to a scrapping unit. And this outfit is certainly in 
that category. Certainly the U.S. will not send over any 
soldiers with finer fighting spirit. The National Guard is 
wrong in theory, but the fine quality of its men will fre- 



Birds and Flowers 4^5 

quently enable a Guard unit to triumph in spite of its 
handicaps. 

Mother has left you some time ago, I suppose. She 
wrote enthusiastically of her visit home, which I am sure 
must have benefited her greatly, and most warmly of 
your kindness to her at your home. I hope that this finds 
you all well and happy. Don't worry if we can't finish 
the Huns this summer. " Rome was neither built nor 
destroyed in a day. Much love to the family and regards 
to my friends. QuiNCY. 

The series of letters to his home is now resumed. His 
return to Company G and to the trenches was at the same 
old place, the vicinity of Badonviller. But they had put 
on a new dress. Spring had decked war in the livery of 
peace. Mills could not resist the flowers. He risked 
his life to gather a little cluster for home. His mother 
still treasures the faded blossoms spoken of in the following 
lines : 

June i8, 1918. 
Dear Mother: Even the trenches can be beautiful 
when they are trimmed with flowers, and the barbed wire 
forms a trellis for rambling vines, and shelter for innumer- 
able thrushes and other songsters — one explanation, no 
doubt, of why the cats have a penchant for No-Man's- 
Land. The birds warble all the time, even when there is 
considerable activity, and it seems to me that their voices 
never sounded so sweet before. A number of them in- 
habit the six small trees, two birches and four wild cherry, 
which rise on the central island (entirely surrounded by 
trenches) of my strong point, or groupe de combat as the 
French call it. At the base of one of the birches is a 
flourishing wild rose bush, literally covered with blossoms, 
some of which I sneaked up and picked — keeping not only 
head but also the rest of me carefully DOWN during the 



4i6 One Who Gave His Life 

process — a while ago. Here are some of them for you, 
and also some daisies and yellow asters from the edge of 
one of my trenches. 

I am sitting now in an armchair-like recess hollowed out 
in the side of a trench conveniently situated close to 
my dugout entrance. The sun is warm and I am enjoy- 
ing a bath in its rays as I write. Several of the men, 
rolled up in their blankets, are snoozing noisily along the 
bottom of the trench nearby. These are the same trenches 
that were a quagmire of mud when I wrote you of them 
formerly. Now that the dry season is here, they are as 
comfortable as trenches can be. 

This informs you that I am back at the old stand with 
the company, which I find much the same as ever. I am 
glad to be able to report the return of Bum to the fieshpots 
of G Co. After trying the artillery he decided that the 
infantry was the branch for him, after all. He was out to 
visit me with the chow carrying detail this morning. Now 
that the trenches are so dry he makes the rounds every 
now and then, and his calls always tone the men up, al- 
though their spirits are never by any means what you 
would call low. Indeed, their unflagging cheerfulness is 
marvelous. It does not interfere, however, with an 
increasingly grim determination to "give Fritz hell," 
about which there is less said than there is shown in 
manner. 

Fritz is certainly getting his share of hell in this sector 
now. All day long there has not been a period of ten 
minutes when something hard has not been traveling 
in his direction. When the artillery has not been throwing 
big ones over, the trench mortars have been plugging away 
at him, and when neither of these hell raisers has been 
talking, the machine guns have been sending strings of 
bullets over our heads, spraying his positions with indirect 
fire. These batteries of machine guns working remind 



Last Days in Lorraine 417 

me of the racket made by batteries of steam drills 
hammering away at the rock bottom of Manhattan. 

I know that you will be interested to hear that I have 
seen and had long talks with a number of my officer 
friends with whom I would have come over had I not been 
sent to this outfit. You can imagine we had lots to say 
to each other. 

I inclose also some wild forget-me-nots from the edge 
of the trench near my dugout door. Love to Dad and 
yourself. Quincy. 

The flowers for which he risked his life in No-Man 's- 
Land were a bunch of wild roses. The letter reached his 
mother on July 21. On the day on which it was written, 
(June 18) the regiment — the entire Rainbow Division — 
terminated its service in Lorraine. Mills makes no men- 
tion of the change, perhaps he did not know when he 
wrote that it was about to take place. But in the next 
letter four days after it was made, he is still silent regard- 
ing it. He seems to have had always some plan of dating 
his letters so as not to correspond with his actual locality 
or the conditions of service. 

June 22, 1918. 

Dear Mother : Here are some flowers from the garden 
of the chateau utilized as our battalion headquarters [in 
Badonviller] from the top story of which I witnessed the 
bombardment I wrote Mr. Luby about. The garden is 
laid out in squares edged with box bushes trimmed to 
about a foot in height, and the flowers are blooming thick 
in its beds. We have a vase full of them on the table at 
our officers' mess every meal, and while I was on the line 
during the last hitch my runners picked a bouquet re- 
ligiously every day for the empty shell case which we 
kept for a vase on our dugout table. 
27 



41 8 One Who Gave His Life 

We have continued to keep things warm for the Dutch, 
who are apprehensive, I think, of a smash against them in 
these parts because of the great activity on our side of the 
line. Our batteries "got to" a big Boche ammunition 
dump behind the woods just opposite my G Co. the last 
morning I was up, and the sound of heavy explosions 
followed for half an hour, with an accompanying pall of 
black smoke that hung over the trees until noon. I regret 
to report that everything has not been entirely in our 
favor during recent days, however, for the Boche have at 
last succeeded in capturing prisoners from our regiment. 
They got six men from one of the other companies after 
8 A.M. the other morning by a ruse. For more than three 
months they had tried to get prisoners from us by raids 
but without success. Every time they put down their 
barrage and came across under the cover of night they got 
shot all to hell. On one occasion, their last attempt by the 
aggressive method, they got into the front line only to be 
chewed up there, leaving ten dead and four prisoners, 
thus saving us the trouble and expense of making a raid 
for prisoners ourselves. 

All telephone conversations can be picked up by the 
' ' listening in ' ' process, as you know, rendering strict ad- 
herence to code absolutely necessary, but after this 
abortive raid an uncoded invitation was extended to the 
Boche to come again. Instead they changed tactics. 
A lone German showed himself pretty close to our line in a 
wooded section where No-Man's-Land is all underbrush, 
and was taken for a sniper, as he was intended to be. 
Three Americans went out to get him and were fired upon, 
losing one dead — but they got the decoy to square that 
account — and then several strong parties went out to the 
front to get the two bodies. These parties worked up 
nearly to the German trench without seeing anyone, but 
when they started back they found themselves suddenly 



Raid and Ambush 419 

confronted by greatly superior numbers of Boche who had 
remained concealed in the shell holes until they passed. 
The Americans had to fight their way back to their own 
trenches, and six of them did not get through. 

This incident was of particular interest to me as a similar 
lone German had showed himself rather ostentatiously 
very close to the G Co. line when I was in, a few days 
previously. In fact he made such a show of himself as to 
look a little too good to be true and drew only a couple of 
rifle grenades. The next afternoon a sniper let loose with 
a couple of rounds at our position. And that time we 
combed No-Man 's-Land so clean with rifle grenades — 
they are just about as bad medicine as 3-inch shells — that 
if there were any Fritzes in ambush they surely had one 
devil of a time. At any rate, we were favored with no 
further attention. 

It looks very much as though the other company bit on 
the trap that was laid at first for us. Anyway, the same 
game won't work twice. In their various attempts to 
raid our regimental sector the Boche succeeded in killing 
several men, but counting their known losses — and they 
always carry their dead back whenever possible — they 
paid at the rate of about ten to one for every American, 
including the last six of our men, who may not have been 
taken ahve. In all, our regiment has killed off about 
a company of Huns, and the additional casualties 
in wounded have amounted to as many more. Which 
is not doing so badly at all. 

The prisoners we have taken say their officers tell them 
that the Americans are poor fighters, but that the German 
privates have an entirely different opinion so firmly in- 
grained in them that one of the raiding parties sent over 
against us had to be prodded out of its own trenches with 
bayonets. 

I know that you are naturally much disappointed at the 



420 One Who Gave His Life 

German success of this summer, but I would not do any 
worrying about it. The French and English are both 
very confident of the outcome; they are even more san- 
guine as to the cessation of hostilities than are the Ameri- 
cans. I am certainly happy to have my personal destinies 
in the hands of Foch, as I may have said to you before, for 
I believe that he knows his business, and that if I am sent 
anywhere under his orders it will not be a case of ' ' some- 
body blundered." It is good to feel that way. And I 
will state candidly that I believe more people than the 
Germans will be surprised by the sized kick in the slats 
the Huns get some one of these fine days. Even the fall of 
Paris would not mean a Boche victory, and no one on this 
side of the line expects Paris to fall. So keep on smiling. 
Much love to Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

In the next letter, concealment of the great change that 
had come about disappears. This is what had happened. 
On June i8, after four months of active service on the 
Lorraine front, the regiment was marched back toward 
the Moselle. There, it entrained and was carried west 
a twenty-four hour journey to the valley of the Marne. 
Regimental headquarters were established at St. Amand 
and the men were quartered there and in surrounding 
villages. It remained there until about June 27, having a 
complete period of rest and recreation. The men played 
ball, had concerts, bathed in the river, enjoyed themselves 
with all the rebound that comes to soldiers after a period of 
desperate strain. 

And the Lorraine experience had been a terrible one for 
men who had never before seen a gun fired to kill or in- 
jure. The 1 68th had had almost four months of continu- 
ous combat in the trenches or in reserve. It had had 
more than a hundred of its officers and men killed and from 



High Hopes 421 

six to seven hundred wounded, many very seriously. 
Nobody enjoyed the relief more than Mills, but it was 
nearly over when he began to write about it : 

June 26, 1918. 

Dear Mother : You will be rejoiced to hear that I am 
back in a rest and training area for a while. We can hear 
the deep-throated baying of the guns, very far away, 
sometimes when there is a great deal of artillery activity 
and the wind is in our direction, but we are away back 
and due to remain there for some time. 

The outfit needs the relief, too, not because of having 
been shot up, but because continued service in the front 
line tends to lower the morale of any military organiza- 
tion, no matter how good it may be. And this regiment 
has done a long hitch, as you know. 

There are many American troops here now, so many 
that their number is often surprising when you strike 
traffic centres where columns are passing in various 
directions. And I am here to tell you that the sight of the 
American soldier fills the French heart with joy, and in- 
spires lively demonstrations. The good account the 
Americans have given of themselves wherever they have 
been in the line gives the French great confidence in us, 
and renders them absolutely sanguine as to the result of 
the war. And in spite of the apparent recent successes of 
the Huns, and of the certainty that there will be further 
pressure from them in the west, the situation is far less 
encouraging for the Teutonic powers than it appears to be 
on its face. The collapse of the Austrian offensive against 
the Italians is the clearest indication at this time of the 
actual situation on the other side of the battle line, 
Austria's condition is actually little better than Russia's, 
and the collapse of Russia has proved thus far a barren 
victory in most respects, except for the relieving of Ger- 



422 One Who Gave His Life 

many's Eastern army. It must be becoming apparent to 
the German people as well as to Berlin that they must 
win now or never. 

The prolonged inactivity of the Boche is evidence in it- 
self of the frightful price they paid for what they gained 
in their last offensive. Had they not suffered so heavily 
as to render further striking impossible for the time being, 
they would never have sacrificed the advantage of their 
initial success. That the Allies have more ground to sell 
at the same rate in German dead I have no doubt. Fur- 
ther German gains are admitted beforehand if they want 
to pay the price. In fact, the Allies may be compared to 
"land boomers" in this respect. 

From the press, I judge that Japanese activity in the 
East is only a matter of time. In fact, it would not sur- 
prise me to hear of it at any moment. If it can be ef- 
fected without arousing the opposition of the Russians, 
the whole consideration which has kept Japan out of 
Siberia to date, I presume, the Russian collapse will be 
wholly neutralized. You see I am an optimist on the sub- 
ject of the war ; I am firm in the convicti'~'n that German 
advantage is far more apparent than real, and that nobody 
is so bothered over this fact as Berlin. 

I have seen a great deal of the American drafted army in 
recent days and I am enthusiastic on the subject. I have 
never seen finer soldiers. If they only do as well as 
they look, they will be invincible. I cannot tell you how 
tensely I await news of how they deport themselves in 
action. Their appearance is sufficient tribute to the ability 
of the training camp officers to whip men into shape, so far 
as the mechanical and disciplinary phases of soldiering go. 
If these troops only have the fighting spirit ! And I am 
firmly convinced that the great mass of them will. I had 
long talks with many of my old friends, and you may be 
sure that we poured out our hearts to each other. 



Girls and Munitions 423 

I continue to marvel at the wild flowers of France. Our 
way to the town in which we are now billeted was through 
rolling fields white with daisies, with great splotches of 
brilliant red poppies and purple larkspur to make a real 
color scheme. The poppies are the most wonderful 
flowers I have seen here. They grow in such profusion as 
to make you wonder whether the French, with their irre- 
pressible love of the artistic, sow the seeds broadcast just 
as they plant every row of trees with a view to de- 
lighting the eye. Even the grainfields are dotted thick 
with poppies. And they are large enough to make you 
suspect them of being of cultivated variety. 

This village, like all those around it, takes you back to 
mediaeval times, with its houses built of hewn timbers, 
the interstices between which are filled with mortar. All 
these buildings are of the Elizabethan type of architecture, 
and appear fully that old. The people are very conserva- 
tive, and are much cleaner than those of the district where 
we first lived. Here, as everywhere else, young women 
are as scarce as young men ; but I think I have solved the 
mystery. I had the pleasure of motoring in a fine big 
car all the way back from school to my regiment, and en 
route we passed through munition plant towns where we 
saw hundreds of young women and girls, all clad in stock- 
ing-and-bloomer-shirtwaist uniforms. I am sure that the 
girls have all been called to such service behind the lines. 
And they surely do look cute in their working suits. They 
lined up along the curbs when they saw our machine com- 
ing and cheered and clapped their hands and threw kisses 
until we were out of sight. It was a great temptation to 
reach out and gather in an armful of beauty and take it 
right along. American soldiers on leave are certainly 
lucky devils, for the French women simply rave over them. 
I am hoping to get some leave myself sooner or later — and 
not too later. 



424 One Who Gave His Life 

Here's hoping that you and Dad are well, and that I 
may have some mail from you soon. Haven't had any 
letters for some days owing to the change of base. Much 
love. QuiNCY. 

The policy of obscuring dates and locations is resumed 
in the letter which follows. On June 27, the Rainbow 
Division was ordered transferred to the Fourth Army, 
commanded by General Gouraud and operating in Cham- 
pagne. On that afternoon it began a march of 35 kilo- 
meters, about 21 miles, toward the front, and at daybreak 
on the 28th, thoroughly wearied, the i68th entered the 
small town of Courtisols. There it remained until July 3, 
so that the letter which follows must have been written 
there : 

June 30, 1 91 8. 

Dear Dad: As to my opinions on the elimination of 
the German press in America, I am heartily in favor of its 
elimination and disagree with The Evening Sun's view. 
The argument that the German-American press may en- 
able the Americans to keep posted on the German lan- 
guage and thus be able the better to combat Prussianism 
is fallacious, in that no simon pure American ever reads 
the German-American papers. The German-American 
press has been always strictly propagandist in character, 
being founded and subsidized by Berlin for the express 
purpose of subverting Americanism. It should have been 
suppressed years ago. The fact that many German 
soldiers have been found to speak English is not due to the 
fact that there has been a large English-German press in 
Germany for many years, but to the fact that Germany 
systematically educated Germans in English for years so 
as to have this advantage in the present war. 

If we want to have similar advantage, the only way is to 



Newspapers in German 425 

educate Americans systematically in the German language 
for that particular purpose. As things stand, to permit 
German communities and a German press to exist as such 
inside the confines of the U. S. is an anomaly; they can 
form an unnatural barrier to the Americanizing of people 
of German blood. The same thing is true in lesser degree 
of the other foreign language presses in the United States. 
Too many blunders are committed in the name of freedom 
of speech. If America is good enough for foreign peoples 
to immigrate to, its language is good enough for them to 
learn and speak. 

I am glad that the attempt to build specimen trenches 
in Central Park was defeated. It was indefensible. 
Your pamphlet about the devil's resignation has had wide 
circulation already in G Co. because the man who wrote it 
is known to many of the men. 

So you want me to go over into Germany and get a 
Boche helmet for you. Well, that's rather a large order. 
The Boche have a way of hanging on to their headgear. 
But in due time I will no doubt have some personal 
souvenirs to send you. Whenever our men have bagged 
Germans it is a fact that they have darn near cut the 
clothes off them for souvenirs. It is a joke in the outfit 
that whenever anybody shoots a Boche his buttons are off 
before he hits the ground. 

Just keep my commission for me. Have it framed if 
you want to. It would be only in my way over here. 
Congratulations on your Defence League company's 
having won the silver cup. Maybe I will have the chance 
to put you through your paces some day and see what 
you really can do. Here are two of my most recent pic- 
tures, same as I have sent Mother already, and a copy of 
our regimental paper. The Wild Rose, which is issued by 
Chaplain Robb of the i68th. 

Give my very best regards to all my friends. Let me 



426 One Who Gave His Life 

hear from you when you have time. And I think you 
may be sure that the men in the army generally share my 
views as to the German-American press. Love to Mother 
and yourself. Quincy. 



The regiment was now in the general neighborhood of 
Chalons, historic ground for fifteen hundred years, made 
more memorable by the new life and death struggle in 
progress upon it. It is a barren section of Champagne, 
the landscape being made up largely of chalk and heather. 
However, the American soldiers had several more days of 
peace in it until the night of July 3 when they were once 
again sent marching in the direction of the battlefront. 
They advanced from Courtisols twenty miles to Camp 
3-5. On the Fourth, they reached Suippes, battered into 
ruins by the German guns. Presumably it was while 
halted in this place that Mills next wrote, or it may have 
been just after, when the regiment was cantoned in Camps 
3-5 and 4-5, about four kilometers to the north of the 
ruined town: 

July 4, 1918. 

Dear Mother: I know you will applaud my cele- 
brating the Glorious Fourth in an eminently safe and sane 
way by writing to you. One of my men in a letter I just 
censored declared he wouldn't feel as if he were celebrat- 
ing the occasion properly unless he were back in the 
trenches, but he will probably have all the opportunity 
later to make up for any present omission. 

This leads me to comment, as I had intended doing be- 
fore, on young France's insatiable appetite for celebrating 
in any noisy manner possible. You would think the 
youngsters in the half -ruined towns in the advanced areas, 
where it was quite the ordinary thing for shells to let go 



Growing Gallicized 427 

close by, would have had enough of noise, but I have seen 
bunches of them busy setting off the French equivalent 
for firecrackers by the half day. The sight of these 
gamins gamboling around with their gas masks slung over 
their shoulders ready for use against gas shells always 
struck me as strangely incongruous. But now I am di- 
verted by a very different sort of gamboling with which 
a very different variety of kid is favoring me. The 
barnyard upon which the window of my present billet 
looks is populated by a very cosmopolitan citizenry, 
prominent among its best families being a goat tribe which 
is in no way in danger of the race suicide peril attributed 
to France. Its kids furnish me with no end of amusement 
by their gambolings and caperings. 

I have just been in conversation with the mistress of the 
barnyard, an elderly widow of extremely ample propor- 
tions, who told me of her two sons in the war, one now 
wounded and in a hospital in Paris, and the other still 
fighting for France after seeing both the battles of Verdun 
and Rheims. This leads up to a fact which will cause you 
much gratification, I know, namely that with the past two 
months I have, all at once, sprouted a very handy French 
vocabulary, and can manage to come to an understanding 
with pretty nearly any of the natives I strike, although I 
find it always much easier to understand and make myself 
understood by the educated class. Also, strange as it may 
seem, if it happens to be a demoiselle, petite and pretty, 
with whom I am conversing, I frequently amaze myself by 
my loquacity. 

I am glad you are to realize some ready cash out of your 
farm, but I must confess that it goes to my heart to think 
of stripping it of its trees. I feel that I never want to 
visit it again, although, of course, small growth will in a 
few years keep the land from looking so bare. I think 
you will admit that my judgment as to holding on to the 



428 One Who Gave His Life 

place has been justified by the price you received for the 
timber. I would advise you to continue to hold on to the 
land now. By all means invest the money in Liberty 
Bonds. 

I am interested in the Simonds and Belloc war resumes, 
and hope you will continue to send them. They are very 
reasonable interpretations of events in the field, and 
always enlightening in some respects. 

Your reference to the Statesville mocking birds reminds 
me to say that my school area teemed with them, and the 
way they sang in the bright moonlit nights of my stay there 
[nightingales?] was a great joy to me. I have heard none 
here or elsewhere in France that I have been. 

Just while writing I had a surprise that will interest you. 
I called in one of the men of my platoon to do a company 
errand. He was a new man, one of the drafted bunch 
that came to us two months ago, and I idly asked him 
where he hailed from in the U. S. His reply was, North 
Carolina. His name is Bringle, and his home is in Salis- 
bury. And I can assure you he was a happy soldier to 
learn that his platoon commander was almost from his own 
town. He is a very good soldier, quiet and earnest. He 
told me he could have claimed exemption as a worker in 
the Du Pont powder mills, but didn't feel like doing so, 
and that he has a brother in the regular army. 

I am inclosing another one of those booklets of views, 
and hope it reaches you O. K. I inclose also one of the 
company's daily mess menus, which I have to supervise as 
company mess officer. The men's fare is solid and there is 
plenty of it. They get plenty of white bread baked in 
army bakeries, but we officers prefer the French war 
bread, or "black bread," as the French call it, and always 
swap our share of the issue for some French family's daily 
ration. The French are eager to trade, but I can't see 
why. Love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 



American Rations 429 

The mocking bird does not inhabit Europe. It is Ukely 
that Mills mistook for it the nightingale, which is the only 
bird that sings by moonlight in that region. In sweet- 
ness and quality of note, the two might easily be mistaken 
for each other. 

By way of proof that he did not exaggerate the good 
fare of the American soldiers, the menus he enclosed are 
interesting : 



Breakfast 


Dinner 


Supper 


Coffee 


Beans, boiled 


Mashed potatoes 


Bread 


Beef 


Gravy 


Bacon 


Potatoes " 


Steak 


Gravy 


Coffee 


Coffee 


Butter 


Bread 


Bread 



The division now advanced into a wooded region which 
with two French it held against nine German divisions 
mustered for a drive to recapture the line of the River 
Mame. The French high command had advance intelli- 
gence of this attack and made corresponding prepara- 
tions. Every night from July 4 to July 14 the entire army 
took the alert at midnight and stood under arms imtil 
daybreak ready to smash the enemy's onset. General 
Gouraud issued a general order to the troops in which he 
said: 

We are awake and on our guard. . . . You will fight on a 
terrain that you have transformed by your labor and persever- 
ance into a powerful fortress. This fortress will be invincible 
and all the approaches will be well guarded. 

The bombardment will be terrible. You will support it 
without weakness. The assault will be fierce — but your 
position and your armament are formidable. In your breasts 
beat the brave and strong hearts of free men. 

None shall glance to the rear; none shall yield a step. . . . 
You will break this assault and it will be a happy day. 



430 One Who Gave His Life 

During the period of waiting, Mills found time to write 
three letters, if the dates be regarded as genuine. It will 
be observed, however, that they make no reference to the 
impending fight, in fact seem to have no reference to 
actually prevailing conditions. The location of himself 
and the dating of the letters of July I2 and 14 at a rest 
camp is particularly puzzling unless he happened to be 
in reserve on these days, for on both the army was in a 
fever of expectation of the attack which actually opened 
at ten minutes after midnight on the morning of the 15th. 

The most plausible explanation seems to be that in 
order to avoid stimulating pictures of terror and peril in 
his parents' minds, he never spoke of any fighting in the 
future or present tense. Only when it was over, did he 
reveal the dangers he had passed and then sparingly. 
Only once did he depart from this policy of acknowledg- 
ing his own risk. The occasion will be found in the next 
chapter and it has a strange significance. The following, 
though seemingly contemporaneous with one of the hard- 
est fought and bloodiest battles of the war, breathe little 
but a spirit of peace : 

July 8, 1918. 

Dear Mother: Thanks for 's fourleafed clover. 

Between hers and 's I should have good luck. Your 

references in your recent letters to the heat remind me to 
say that the coolness of this climate to date has amazed 
me. To-day I am wearing a sleeveless sweater, a flannel 
shirt and my blouse, and I am not more than comfortable. 
There has not been a night I have not slept under my bed- 
ding roll's sleeping bag and three blankets. The tem- 
perateness of the weather has been a great blessing to us. 
The few hot days have gone hard with men who never 
knew before what it was to have to go without ice and 
ice cream and ice cream sodas. I really believe that on 



Prosperous Fields 43 1 

such days they would prefer an honest-to-God American 
ice cream parlor to all the wine cellars in the earth. About 
the only way to come in contact with ice over here is to 
be sent to hospital, and this is a means not altogether 
popular. 

We haven't had a single thunderstorm, and this in spite 
of the fact that the crops are advanced almost to the 
period of harvest. Some of the grain appears to be fully 
ready for the reaper, but the fields of wheat are not yet 
ready for cutting. There is much wheat in this section, 
and it is of the finest, standing nearly to my shoulder. It 
seems queer to see no corn anywhere. Potatoes are 
grown in great profusion, and do not seem to be attacked 
by bugs as in our country. 

The people are frugal but well-to-do generally, and 
this is the first time I have been in a house in France 
where the walls were not covered with Catholic symbols. 
Evidently there are Protestants here. We are the first 
American troops to be billeted in this locality, and the 
people are very kind to us. But I fear that our prosperity 
will spoil them, as it does everywhere. One of our men 
created something of a panic by displaying when he 
shaved out at the watering trough his gold washed shaving 
kit — it sells for $io back in the States. The old French- 
man who owns the place called in all the neighbors to see, 
and I have no doubt that word went abroad immediately 
that even American private soldiers have solid gold 
shaving sets. 

On our railway journey hither the men had a treat in 
the sight of a real American locomotive with * ' a real HE 
whistle," as one of them put it in writing home. They 
express at all times deep contempt for the shrill squealing 
French locomotives, and the continental freight cars 
always evoke laughter. One of our men says he is going 
to take one home with him for a watch charm, and all 



432 One Who Gave His Life 

compare them with the lO-cent store toy tin trains. 
"Never before," wrote one, "had I gotten an idea of the 
true value of a soldier. In one end of the tiny box car 
in which I rode were four mules, in the other, twenty of us 
fighters for democracy." But the men always treat such 
hardships as jokes. Whenever they passed through rail- 
way stations they always "B-a-a-d" and "M-o-o-d" in 
chorus, while the mystified French probably concluded 
that all Americans are crazy. 

The spirit of the men has been always fine, whether rid- 
ing in overcrowded and springless box cars or marching 
with heavy packs. The hikes have been hard and many 
men have had to drop out, but it has done me good to 
see the drafted men of the company grit their teeth and 
stick to it. 

Some of them who were not fit to hike refused trans- 
portation just because they didn't want the volunteers to 
think them quitters. That is their spirit, and it is a good 
sign for the National Army. And I get a lot of satisfac- 
tion out of the fact that the man who is the life of my 
platoon on trying marches is a drafted man, an Irishman 
from Pennsylvania named Forney, who always begins to 
open up just about the time he sees the fellows getting 
tired. From then on, he kids everybody, keeps every- 
body laughing, and somehow everybody gets in without 
knowing how. 

He has a little running mate named Hancock who acts 
as his foil, and between them the}'" beat any vaudeville 
comedy duo I ever paid money to see. On our last hike 
Hancock, who is our company pigeoneer, was affected by 
nosebleed, and Forney kept the whole platoon in hysterics 
the rest of the hike describing how Hancock had been kicked 
in the face by one of his own pigeons. The fact that Han- 
cock carried no pigeons, and hasn't had any since being 
trained for his job, didn 't affect the humor of the situation. 



Vin Rouge 433 

It's a great life, but I don't believe you would appre- 
ciate the hiking. 

Much love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 

July II, 1918. 

Dear Mother : I have a little time at present, and will 
take advantage of it to drop you an extra letter, as writing 
letters is my favorite outdoor and indoor sport, giving me 
almost as much pleasure as receiving them. 

If I remember rightly, you inquired somewhat tenta- 
tively a while back as to the nature of the beverages we 
get to drink over here. Well, A. E. F. orders limit sol- 
diers to light wine and beer, but as a matter of fact you can 
get pretty nearly anything you want, and I have tried 
about all varieties. I am just about as hard a drinker as 
I have always been, so you needn't worry. Personally, I 
would be glad to see a bone dry army for the good of all 
concerned, although I have had no trouble of any real 
account with my own platoon on the drinking score. 

I consider it best to be tolerant with the men. So long 
as a man keeps himself fit at all times for service while up 
in the fighting area, I am not going to see him if he gets 
happy back in the training area, unless he gets so badly 
lit up as to render discipline necessary. There is a whole 
lot to the case as presented thus by one of my men: 
"Lieutenant, what the hell is a man goin' to do if he don't 
get vin-rouged-up once in a while? They keep us either 
on the line or confined to training areas where we can't 
get to even a good village, let alone a city. And a sol- 
dier's a human bein'. If he don't get a chance to let off 
steam once in a while, he'll go crazy," 

I have to admit that a soldier is human, for more than 

once when I have been hard worked and sore on the world 

in general I have had to put a bottle of champagne under 

my belt to get out of the rut. But not one of my men 

28 



434 One Who Gave His Life 

has ever seen me under the influence of Uquor, nor, in- 
deed, has any officer. I use the cup that cheers strictly 
for cheering, and not inebriating, purposes. And, on the 
whole, I feel that the men hold themselves in hand mighty 
well. If they could buy ice cream sodas I really believe 
that the amount they spend for booze would be cut in half. 
Now that the dry season is on, the roads are thick with a 
fine, white, powder-like dust that chokes your throat and 
makes you mortally thirsty. Drinking water that has 
not been chemically purified is forbidden, and after it has 
been so treated it is never as cool as before. Ice is un- 
known. So, many times, I have bought bad wine in an 
endeavor to slake my thirst. This water situation is, in 
fact, our greatest hardship in summer just as lack of fuel 
is our greatest hardship in winter. 

As to my own indulgence : I have invested quite heavily 
in champagne, which is relatively cheap here. I find a 
clear white wine known as Graves one of the most pleasant 
drinks obtainable, however. One of my winter favorites 
was "chaud rhum,'' or "grog Americain," which is nothing 
more than an excellent hot toddy concocted with boiling 
water, Jamaica rum and sugar. This is sometimes made 
with cognac, but I prefer my cognac in cofTee. Coffee 
heavily spiked in this fashion is one of the finest drinks 
I have tried for cold weather. 

The French are great on brandies made from all sorts 
of fruits. Cassis, made from cherries, is very palatable, 
but most of them I do not care for at all. The most viru- 
lent of all of them is mirahelle, made from plums. It is a 
fiery white liquor corresponding to American "third rail" 
or "white lightning," and three drinks of it will make you 
climb a steel high-tension pole and bite the insulators right 
off the crossarms. I know, for I ' ve tried it — once. Never 
again! The one thing the French authorities have really 
shut down on is absinthe. Perhaps there are places where 



Longing for Respite 435 

you can find it in the big cities, but I haven't been able 
to taste any yet. Very passable beer is obtainable, and I 
have lapped up some of that, too, but not as much as I 
would use if it were good American brew. 

Speaking of the dryness of the roads, the dry season 
is just as dry as the wet season is wet over here. Showers 
are rare, and we still have to have our first thunderstorm. 
I have been very much pleased at the fact that the men in 
writing home are now expressing a much higher opinion of 
France than they did when they first landed and wallowed 
in its mud. The fine fields of grain appeal to them, and 
they are always remarking on the smooth highways and 
the wonderful wild flowers. They would all prefer to be 
back in the good old U. S. A., though. But I believe that 
if they could only "parler" with the mademoiselles when 
they meet them they wouldn't think this such a bad 
country after all. Personally, I don't think it half bad. 
And while "war is hell," as Sherman said, it has certain 
compensations if you can only get to a real civilized town 
now and then. 

I hope the pressure will let up some time so that officers 
and men can get their leaves. We have been at the grind 
pretty steadily ever since our arrival, and leaves would 
be of real benefit. But as long as the Hun drive menace 
lasts none of us would want to be running around enjoying 
ourselves at the rear, of course. The long period of Ger- 
man inactivity is a most surprising thing. And, however 
much the Huns may be gathering their strength for an- 
other mighty lunge, the great length of time between lunges 
is most eloquent testimony to what the others have cost 
them. I have thought each week for the past month that 
the next must surely see a resumption of the great battle. 
That the resumption must come soon is inevitable. 

Dad referred in one of his letters to Mr. Cole, of The 
Evening Sun, having entered service in some fashion. He 



436 One Who Gave His Life 

is with the Y. M. C. A., and will no doubt stand his share 
of danger. Two "Y" men were killed and one injured 
with our outfit. They perform a real service, and it's to 
Cole's honor that he's doing his bit that way. 

The Red Cross has been more in evidence recently, 
having distributed tobacco and chocolate. If it could 
manage to provide ice cream cones at cost it would cer- 
tainly confer a priceless boon. The men had a lot of fun 
some time back out of a story in the papers about night- 
shirts the Red Cross had sent over — for the soldiers in 
hospitals, I suppose. Anyway, the idea of soldiers in 
nightshirts hit their funny bones. 

Well, I guess I'll ring ofiE and go have a look at the com- 
pany supper, one dish for which, it may surprise you to 
know, will be German fried potatoes. "Another reason 
for fighting the damn Dutch," as one of my men wrote 
back on hearing from home that his little sister had German 
measles. Much love to Dad and yourself, and regards 
to the friends. Quincy. 

Rest Camp, July 12, 191 8. 

Dear Mother: Another bunch of mail from you to 
hand. It surprises me that you have no strenuous protest 
to offer against the moustache. One of my reasons for 
raising it was to kid you. It will interest you to know that 
said moustache is red, and does not at all match my hair in 

color. Suppose I will now have to emulate Mr. and 

dye it. 

I am much relieved by the receipt of your earlier letter 
regarding the sale of the timber — delayed in delivery — 
saying that only the trees above 8 inches in diameter will 
be taken. I am so glad the place will not be stripped bare. 

We are now located in another very pleasant camp in the 
woods, with the men still resting and getting into shape 
for further service. Not the least attractive feature of our 



Paper Bombardment 437 

present camp is a little wire inclosure inhabited by one 
large black rabbit, which wears a red ribbon that shows 
off his color very effectively, and two half -grown white 
ones. They are very tame, and whenever anyone passes 
within sight of their inclosure stand up on their hind legs 
with their noses through the wire begging for weeds. We 
also have a large friendly gray-and-white Tommy. Our 
dog views the rabbits with great interest and the cat with 
great respect. 

Your apprehensions lest Wilson may incline to favor 
too easy terms for Germany when peace comes remind 
me to speak of an incident that occurred while we were 
up on the line — several incidents, in fact. These were 
the shooting over of barrages of propaganda missiles. We 
sent over thousands of them, a great waste of money in 
my opinion, for the only sort of propaganda which can 
impress a German has to hurt him physically. The more 
relentless the President can make the Germans believe 
we are, the better for us. 

The Huns also sent over some of their reading matter, 
including among other things big pictorial sheets demon- 
strating that the Allies had used pictures of former Rus- 
sian atrocities as illustrations of German atrocities in 
Belgium and Northern France. A great crowd of soldiers 
gathered to look at one of these sheets, and the following 
verdict rendered for the crowd by one of these plain men 
will do your heart good, I know: "These pictures don't 
prove a damn thing except that the Germans can make 
pictures lie. Didn't they destroy Belgium when it was 
neutral? Well, what they did proves what they are." 
So you see the Kaiser's money is equally wasted on propa- 
ganda. 

I continue the picture of health. The thistle inclosed 
is one of the same sort I used to find back in the environs 
of New York. There are many more of them here than I 



438 One Who Gave His Life 

saw there. Much love to Dad and yourself, and regards 
to the friends. Quincy. 

Rest Camp, July 14, 1918. 

Dear Mother: Your hope as expressed in a recent 

missive to me, that the next draft get simply 

echoes a sentiment I had already expressed to you, I think. 
But the individual I really want to see them put a uniform 

on is . About the worst stuff — in spirit, I mean 

— that I have seen has been the leaves from his own note- 
book while over here as a war correspondent. The notes 
were so obviously those of a mildly and complacently in- 
terested bystander patronizingly favoring the show with 
a passing glance. He is a poseur, the sort of individual, 
a mixture of fatuity and real talent, so admirably selected 
by Gilbert and Sullivan for the hero of Patience. There 
is no excuse for being out of service which I hold in greater 
contempt than that of family responsibility, the one that 

he and offer. In the contingent of drafted men 

sent to my company there were a number of married men 
whose services at home are really needed by their depen- 
dents, I know, because they come from the class which 
always earns its bread by the sweat of its brow. 

For a man of still undetermined possibilities for real 
usefulness like John Purroy Mitchel to die when such 
parasites as I have been referring to continue to exist, is 
shameful. I was not entirely surprised at the news of 
Mitchel's death. He was a bunch of nerves, and nerves 
are bad things for aviators to have. In fact, I think that 
the physical requirements for the aviation service must 
have been waived to admit him. I was afraid that he 
would die by accident, but it was too bad that the accident 
could not have been averted until he had had the pleasure 
of bringing down at least one Hun. 

Much love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 



Battle in Champagne 439 

The German army virtually lost the Champagne bat- 
tle of July 14 to 19, for which they had so long made 
ready, on the very first day. The completeness of the 
French preparations baffled all their plans. They fought 
on for four days, but made a final retirement on the 
night of July 19-20. The American troops behaved 
with wonderful coolness and valor. A French writer 
spoke of them as going in as if the field of action were a 
football ground. General Naulin issued a General Order 
praising them. The losses of the i68th were 35 men killed 
and nearly a hundred wounded. The Rainbow Division 
were the only American troops in that battle with General 
Gouraud's army. Orders relieving it were received at 
9 o'clock on the night of the i8th, when the result of the 
battle was no longer doubtful. It withdrew to the rear 
on the 19th. While in a reserve position, during the 
struggle or just after its close, Mills wrote : 

July 18, 1918. 

Dear Mother : I am writing to you Hterally from the 
field of battle about which you will read long before this 
reaches you. 

Although in reserve, our battalion suffered its heaviest 
casualties to date in the resistance of the Hun attack 
which began three days ago. Considering the strafing to 
which the locality we occupy was subjected, it is remark- 
able that our losses were not heavier. I do not know why 
any of us should be unscathed, but I am still in that con- 
dition at present along with the great majority of the 
outfit. 

So far as our sector is concerned — and we are informed 
that the same holds true along the entire front of the drive 
— the Hun effort was wholly abortive. From papers 
found on captured Germans we know that their schedule 
called for the reaching of their primary local objective by 



440 One Who Gave His Life 

8 A.M. the 15th, and their principal local objective by that 
evening, whereas they did not even advance as far as our 
plan of battle had allowed for their coming in the initial 
push. For the present we are simply waiting to see 
whether they want any more, trouncing them roundly with 
artillery in the meantime. 

Personally, I do not believe it possible for the line to be 
broken here, or anywhere else within the attack area. If 
the French were caught by surprise in the last Hun drive 
preceding this one, they assuredly were not this time. 
The extent and precision of their information was amazing. 
We knew the exact hour when the Hun barrage was to — 
and did — drop. And the one we touched off just a few 
minutes in anticipation was so intense that it's a wonder 
to me it left any room in the air for the Hun projectiles to 
get by. 

Prisoners taken assert that our artillery fire was so in- 
tense it rendered organization for the initial assault im- 
possible. I can well believe this, for you could scarcely 
stroll across a place two acres square before the show 
started without stumbling on a battery of the famous 75 's 
or larger guns waiting — with ammunition corded up all 
around and all their data for the area they were to fire on — 
for the "supermen" to come on. Never having seen it, 
you could not believe how thoroughly a battery of 75's 
can be concealed right out in the middle of an open field 
before your eyes. 

For the present my company is sitting very comfort- 
ably in a nice dry dugout, a very large one, two stories 
underground, waiting, like Mr. Micawber, "for something 

to turn up." The men's spirit is fine, and any of the 

Dutch they get tangled up with will hardly appear later 
in anything but casualty lists. The way the men stood 
for the first time an artillery fire — H. E. and gas shells 
mixed — which may well be described as withering makes 



On to a New Area 441 

you proud to be an American. From German prisoners 
we learn that the readiness of the American soldier to take 
and give punishment has had a profound effect already on 
the private soldiers of the German army, who are amazed 
to find American soldiers on every front they attack, and 
are depressed by the knowledge of our numbers. 

If the Huns are held in their present attempt, it will be 
much more surely the beginning of final defeat for them 
than was Gettysburg for the Confederacy. 

Our division is somewhere on the field of the 191 5 battle 
of Champagne. Much love to Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

Along with the command, withdrawing the Division and 
of the same date as the preceding letter, came other orders 
assigning the regiment to a new area of battle, for which it 
took up the march after a brief rest. 

The troops in the dugouts stiffered intolerably from the 
foul air caused by their crowded condition and long con- 
finement from July 14 to 19. To escape suffocation, they 
were sent out in relays for fresh air in the midst of the con- 
stant rain of high explosive and gas shells, and many 
casualties were due to this unavoidable exposure. Mills 
makes no mention of this in his account of the battle, but 
his friend, Captain L. M. C. Adams, after his return from 
France, described the suffering of the men in reserve. He 
also spoke of the iact that the French lost almost all their 
artillery horses early in the engagement. With the deter- 
mination of saving the guns If the fortunes of war went 
against the Allies, the horses had been stationed much 
nearer the front than usual. They were spied out by 
enemy airmen who signalled the range to the German 
gunners and the resulting slaughter was frightful. 



CHAPTER XIII 

A Soldier's Dream — ^After the Champagne Defensive, the ChAteau- 
Thierry Drive — Fulfillment of Fate and Supreme Sacrifice — 
Asleep in France — Tributes. 

When Mills's trunks came home to his parents, these 
verses were found in one of them : 

RECOLLECTIONS A. E. F. 

When this cruel war is over, and w^e've laid aside our hates. 
When we've crossed the bounding billow to our loved United 

States, 
When I sleep in thin pajamas, not in sweater, socks and pants, 
I will think about the billet where I froze in Sunny France. 

When I sit all snug and cozy, and it isn't any dream 
That I hear the radiator hissing merrily with steam, 
When the house is warm and comfy, this idea I'll advance, 
I'll forgive the heating systems that are all the vogue in France. 

When I watch an open fire eating up the seasoned logs, 
I'll recall the sappy sticks fresh cut from sodden Gallic bogs. 
When I hear the fire crackle as I watch it jump and dance, 
I'll forget the smoking fireplace I froze beside in Sunny France. 

A soldier's daydream! But Mills never came home. 
His next battle was his last. He lies buried in France, 
and his parents have decided after consulting the depths 
of their hearts that he would choose to rest there himself, 
awaiting the last trumpet call. 

His closing days and the circumstances of his crowning 

442 



Acknowledged Risk 443 

sacrifice are now to be recorded. Only a week of his life 
is left. As the great Champagne defensive battle reached 
its close another life and death struggle was in progress 
to the left between Soissons and Chateau-Thierry ; it was 
the great offensive movement generally spoken of as the 
Chateau-Thierry drive, which was the beginning of the 
end of the war. The French were forcing back the Ger- 
man invaders, and reinforcements of fighting troops of 
high quality were needed. On the night of July i8 at 
9 o'clock, the orders reached the i68th to proceed to the 
new area of danger. The regiment marched during the 
dark hours and the 19th found it at Camp Attila north of 
Chalons, where it was allowed to rest for about three days. 
Mills wrote some word on every day of this stay; on the 
last, a long and intensely graphic account of the Cham- 
pagne combat. To the very end, his plan of dwelling on 
the peril happily escaped without allusion to what might be 
ahead is faithfully maintained. How vain the precau- 
tion may be seen from the fact that the letter of July 22 
did not reach New York until August 23, nearly a month 
after his death. On the next day, August 24, 1918, a 
telegram from the War Department announced : 

Lt. Quincy S. Mills missing in action. 

In these last letters, however, there is a distinct change 
of tone. The note of hope and confidence which he kept 
up for the encouragement of his father and mother and 
anxious friends throughout the correspondence, despite 
his own misgivings revealed to his comrades, gives way to 
an accentuation of the risk of battle coupled with a new 
suggestion of consolation. He now dwells on the satis- 
faction to his own soul of his participancy in the war, no 
matter what the cost, and he appeals to his parents' pride 
and patriotic devotion to conquer their bereavement. 



444 One Who Gave His Life 

Who can say that, as he penned these Hnes, which thrill 
with emotion as deep as it is restrained, a premonitory 
shadow did not rest upon his spirit ? 

July 19, 1918. 

Dear Mother: When I wrote you yesterday I told 
you that all reports indicated that I was having the privi- 
lege of witnessing a part of what would prove to be the 
German Gettysburg. To-day's news of the Allied vic- 
tory in the Chateau-Thierry region seems to indicate that 
this was an even truer interpretation than I realized. 

Chateau-Thierry itself seems likely to prove an even 
greater Sedan , with victors and conquered reversed this time. 

If I should prove "out of luck" you may know that at 
any rate I knew that Germany was beaten, and any 
civilized human being would die happy in the knowledge 
that he had played even an insignificant part toward 
bringing this to pass. 

As one of my corporals wrote home to his mother to- 
day : " I have seen war at its worst and men at their best " 
— and I will add that it has been worth while living for. 

I would not have you think that I have not been scared 
by what I have been through, but the truth is that I have 
been worse scared by thinking about it afterward than I 
was at the time. 

You will rejoice to know that General Foch has formally 
credited the success in the West to the iron resistance of- 
fered to the Hun onslaught by the Allied army on this front. 

Love and lots of it. QuiNCY. 

July 20, 1918. 

Dear Mother: The Allied success grows, and as it 
does, so does my elation. 

A bunch of Hun prisoners who passed through us to the 
rear to-day was certainly a nondescript lot : A few husky 



Germans Stunned 445 

young men, mixed in with a number of mere youths and 
men above age and physically unfit. 

Here are some French forget-me-nots I picked to-day. 
Much love. QuiNCY. 

July 21, 1918. 

Dear Mother: Many of the French think that the 
present blow will win the war speedily ; none of them fear 
any further drives of "frightful" proportions from the 
Huns. This will prove the last stupendous German 
effort, they say; their elation now that the safety of their 
beloved Paris is assured is pathetic. And the fervor with 
which they bless the Americans is touching. They cer- 
tainly think that we are the people. 

The futility of the Hun effort before us continues to 
amaze me more the more I think of it. They had alto- 
gether 225,000 men on a very short front, and these have 
been shot all to pieces. Captiired German officers con- 
fess themselves stunned by the ferocity of the opposition 
they encountered. And the reasons they suggest for their 
own failure are equally amazing. "We hadn't enough 
machine guns. ' ' ' ' Our artillery was insufficient. ' ' Think 
of such statements from Germans ! 

There can be no doubt that the defence here was organ- 
ized as Verdun never was. And the thing that is the most 
encouraging about it all was that the Huns threw every 
ounce they could spare against this sector, as it was the 
key to the success of their whole plan. 

As soon as I have the opportunity I will write you at 
length about the events of the past week. Love. 

QuiNCY. 

July 22, 1918. 

Dear Mother: Well, I have been waiting all week for 
an opportunity to write you a real letter, but as day has 



446 One Who Gave His Life 

succeeded unto day there has been always plenty to do. 
But I do not kick at that. This has been an eventful 
week in world history, and if I have been kept busy in- 
cidentally to the doing of big things I am proud of it — 
and more than glad that I have been here to be kept busy. 

To begin at the beginning : The last Hun effort began 
officially in the early hours of July 15, but actually the 
battle started before midnight of the evening before, 
and July 14 has been made a doubly glorious day in French 
history. It was just about midnight when the German 
bombardment opened, but the guns that were to decide 
the fortunes of the day and of civilization, the 75s and the 
155s manned by French and American gunners, had begun 
to speak in a mighty chorus half an hour before the first 
Hun lanyard was jerked. And it was this initial Allied 
artillery fire which went far toward disorganizing the Hun 
attack and breaking up the drive that was to have set up 
the Prussian eagles in Paris. Perhaps there was to have 
been a little breathing space between this drive and the 
final stupendous onslaught that was to have set the iron 
heel on the capital of France, but this was avowedly the 
beginning. 

And to-day the flower of the German army has been 
blown to atoms ; the picked divisions that were to prepare 
the line for the final assault on Paris are as completely 
destroyed as the army which Napoleon led up to Moscow, 
and the army which was to have rolled over the Allied 
forces to the Seine is broken up, sent hither and there to 
be fed in to stop Foch's offensives; instead of gaining even 
a kilometer von Ludendorf and von Hindenburg have 
actually lost many, along with many thousand prisoners 
and many guns. 

As I say, it was about midnight when the Hun bombard- 
ment started ; I can assure you that I did not stop to look 
at my watch when the long sinister roll to the north opened 



Destroyed the Huns 447 

and the shells began to sing and burst around us. Every- 
body had been aroused half an hour earlier by the violence 
of our own cannonade. The French had the dope even 
to the exact minute of the beginning of the Hun infantry 
assault, 4:45 A.M., and they forestalled the Hun bombard- 
ment by opening with our batteries, masked in every hill 
and hollow, on the positions where the German infantry 
had to form and on their batteries — 300 of them, or 1200 
guns, detailed to blow us off the map in our sector. 

From 9 o'clock on, our artillery had been unusually 
active ; at about 1 1 130 the whole country on our side of the 
line was a sheet of flame from the mouths of cannon. And 
still scarcely a shot from the Huns. That is their way. 
They save it all up and turn it all loose at once. But this 
time they saved it all up and then couldn't turn it loose. 
It had seemed that our guns could not have increased their 
fire, but at the moment that the Huns fired their first salvo 
from the whole length of their line as far as we could hear, 
from the east to the west, our 75s and 155s literally leaped 
from the earth and began to tear at their target like a 
tremendous pack of ravenous dogs rending their quarry 
to pieces. 

And so they tore and tore and tore all night and into the 
day and until the afternoon, until the last German gun 
ceased to answer. They gassed and shelled the Hun bat- 
teries until at times the fire against us almost died away; 
they blew the Hun's attacking Hnes into Eternity, they 
blasted the shattered divisions that tried to reorganize for 
another effort toward noon, and they fired point blank 
into the thin lines that made the final hopeless effort to 
reach our positions. 

What the artillery did not smash the machine guns, 
lying silent in concealed positions until this moment, piled 
up in windrows across the wire-strung fields like rows of 
human grain felled by a gigantic sickle. The Germans 



448 One Who Gave His Life 

were numbed ; they tasted of their own Frightf ulness in a 
proportion that they had never dreamed of and they could 
not realize that their defeat was true. Such artillery fire 
captured officers had not conceived possible. Listening 
to our artillery, it seemed as though the 75s were firing 
clips of shells like those loaded into machine guns and 
automatic pistols. And it was on Bastile Day that the 
gunners and their helpers in French horizon blue and 
American olive drab seized the first shells from the 
mounds stacked up like cordwood around the guns that 
stood with open breeches ready to blow Kultur from the 
face of the earth, pushed them home and opened the fight 
which, so far as they knew, might have ended for them in 
a vast Thermopylae. For they knew only that the Hun 
had decided that the sector in which we stood was the 
essential key to his own movement; they knew the true 
frightfulness of the concentrations that he did not hesitate 
to make to carry such a point; and they knew that they 
had been told that the line upon which we stood was to be 
held at all costs, even to the last man and the last gun. 
And, shoulder to shoulder, the Americans and French 
stood ready to make the sacrifice. 

But it is now all a tale that is told. The war is not yet 
ended by any means. There may be many months yet 
of bitter fighting. But the backbone of Prussian aggres- 
sion has been broken. The German armies may gain 
here a little and there a little. But the fear of their roll- 
ing, a vast tidal wave of barbarism, over civilization, is 
past and gone, and free men can draw their breath once 
more and know that the world is to continue to be a fit 
place to live in. 

And I — it is enough for me to know that I have played 
a part, however small and insignificant, in this epic day, 
and that, whatever the sacrifice I might have been called 
upon to make, I would not have been found wanting. 



Died Aiding the Wounded 449 

Which brings me down to the less important subject of 
my own personal experiences incidental to the battle. 
When I jumped out of the door of our barrack shack it was 
to see shells cracking all around, to feel them as well as hear 
them and see them flashing Hke local Hghtning bursts in 
our fir grove and in the woods all around. Branches of 
trees were crashing and the air was full of the hum of 
pieces of high explosive shells. And just as I got outside 
the gas alarm sounded. You can imagine how pleasant 
it was groping in a gas helmet through the darkness to the 
dugout. The way lay down a little narrow-gauge railway 
track used for hauling munitions, and twice on the way 
shells burst so close that they threw dirt all over me, but 
somehow I got there. Then it was necessary to shepherd 
the men of my platoon, guide them to the stairway of the 
dugout and get them down. Why we were not all knocked 
off as we stumbled around in the darkness God only knows, 
but I had not a single man of my platoon killed, although 
several sustained painful wounds. All things considered, 
the losses of the companies of my battalion in dead and 
wounded were amazingly slight. Not a man was killed 
in getting to the dugouts but several were wounded, and 
our dead met their end in carrying these wounded to the 
hospital ! 

In this regard, I blame higher authority, which knew the 
hour when it was believed the Huns would start raising 
hell, for not having had every man underground long be- 
fore things commenced. This lack of judgment and fore- 
sight is just the sort of thing that I have been so hot about 
all the time. But this incident is past, and enough of 
criticism for the present. 

The men being packed into the shafts and on the stair- 
ways of the dugout, I stood in the trench at the head of 
the stairway until daylight. The gas shells fell only fit- 
fully, so that most of the time we could keep our masks 



450 One Who Gave His Life 

off, fortunately. The absence of gas, with which the 
Huns usually drench the reserve positions, amazed me 
more and more as the night passed. One hit less than ten 
feet from the trench at the head of the dugout stairway, 
but all of us had our masks on before the stuff got to us. 
Not until the battle subsided did I comprehend the reason 
for the absence of gas. Orders found on killed and cap- 
tured German officers showed that they were to have been 
in Suippes, 3^2 kilometers behind us, by 8 a.m. the morn- 
ing of the 15th, and in Chalons-sur-Marne, 22 kilometers 
from the Hun starting point, by night. The Huns did 
not wish to impede their prospective rapid progress by 
running into their own gas, so they shot over just enough 
to m^ake us put on our masks, and thus increase the con- 
fusion and their chance of getting us with high explosives. 
But thanks to a brisk breeze the little they did put over 
was quickly dispelled, and we had to wear our masks 
hardly at all. I have not heard of a single gas casualty in 
the sector. 

But after looking at the fashion in which they ploughed 
up the whole surface of the camp it is more and more of a 
mystery to me why we did not suffer heavily from shell 
fire. Not a tree but had been gouged by a shell fragment, 
and the ground in our grove was literally carpeted with 
fir branches. Of course all the shells did not drop at once 
while we were passing through ; had they done so, it would 
have been our finish. They fell during a twelve horn- 
bombardment ; lucky for us they were scattered ! 

To show how utterly the Huns failed in their scheme of 
rapid advance, they did not penetrate and establish them- 
selves closer than i ,000 yards to our intermediary line — 
and a splendid one it was — selected ahead of the one for 
our stand to the finish. And then the French counter- 
attacked the next day and drove them out of the area 
back to our front line that they had bought at such terrible 



Comrades in Valor 451 

cost. At a few points the Huns did manage to penetrate 
to our intermediary position even in the face of machine 
guns planted every 50 yards — think of it! — but, each 
time, they were hurled out instantaneously. At one point 
they thus reached the Alabama regiment's intermediary 
position, but two companies of the Alabamans, singing 
"When the roll is called up yonder we'll be there," struck 
them like a hammer of steel — and did not bring back a 
single prisoner from the mass they literally picked up on 
the points of their bayonets and pitchforked back to the 
1 ,000 yard limit. Indeed prisoners were desired on the Ala- 
bama front, and a lieutenant finally got one back — but 
he had to throw himself in front of the Hun to keep him 
from being bayoneted, and even then the mad Alabamans 
got him through the leg. At another point the Huns got 
close to the New York regiment's (the old Sixty-ninth) 
intermediary position to make a lunge for it, but the New 
Yorkers leaped from the trench with a yell, caught the 
Boche between our trench and our wire and bayoneted 
every one without themselves losing a man. 

Our division was put in fast company for the fight — 
Blue Devils on one side of us and Algerians on the other — 
and it more than justified its right to the honor. No won- 
der that when a French soldier meets an American his 
hand comes up in salute and he ejaculates from a face 
wreathed in smiles, ' ' Camarade ! ' ' 

After the action quieted dov/n on the afternoon of the 
15th with only our guns working — they continued to bark 
savagely for another 12 hours after the Boche artillery 
quit — you can imagine our grim hours of waiting, wonder- 
ing if the Hun would come back at us with a mightier effort 
than ever and drown us in gas. All night we waited with 
hardly a Boche shell falling, and our own guns working 
less incessantly, but with the sinister roll of the battle 
still rumbling away to our right and left, particularly 



452 One Who Gave His Life 

to the left in the direction of Rheims. And then came the 
news of Foch's counter-attack, brilHant in its conception 
and masterly in execution, and men wearied by two 
nights' vigil were electrified in a second. It would have 
made your heart leap to be an American to have seen the 
blaze in my Sergeant Scott's eyes as he said to me: 

"Lieutenant, we're just a-rarin' to go and get them ! " 

And they were, too. They would have stuck through hell 
on the last stand position, but their first taste of victory 
was sweet and they wanted to get out and at their 
enemies. Scott has been recommended for an officers' 
training school, by the way, and will go soon and get his 
commission. See how my judgment has been vindicated. 
Koester has just been commissioned at one of these schools 
and sent to another division than ours. 

Then came the humorous side of war. On the body of 
a Hun messenger was found a message to his commander 
relating how he had "swept over the enemy" with his 
detachment of five tanks and was "pursuing them in the 
direction of Somme-Suippes." The particular humor of 
this message was that according to the Boche officer he 
had run his Juggernauts right over us. You should have 
heard the men laugh ! The tanks had all been shot to 
pieces. There was another shout over the yarn about a 
Boche prisoner brought in on the morning of the i6th who 
was reported to have inquired as they started marching 
him down the road how soon they would reach Chalons. 
He explained, according to the stoiy, that the Kaiser had 
decreed when they started the drive that they were not to 
eat until they reached Chalons and that he was pretty 
hungry. 

The prisoners I wrote you of as having been marched 
by here were a sorry lot, most of them men of 50 and boys 
of 16 in uniforms baggy and out of all proportion to the 
sizes of the wearers. You will be glad to know that our 



An Airplane Memento 453 

dog Bum survived gloriously to dash out with us to view 
the parade of Germans and that he nearly barked his head 
off at them. The blood curdHng yells let out by our men 
as they ran toward the column caused the French cavalry 
escort to close in on all sides, and the Huns appeared 
almighty glad to have them there. 

The later news establishes that the Allied victory was 
not as overwhelming as we had at first been led to believe 
— in an army, news of victory or defeat is magnified a 
thousandfold by the wind of rumor which brings it. It 
will hardly be a German Sedan, but it is a German Gettys- 
burg, and more. It would not surprise me if this blow to 
German prestige should send Austria reeling from her 
feet. And the effect in Germany itself will be far more 
far-reaching than on the battlefront, for the greatest 
menace that the German war lords have erected for them- 
selves is the necessity of proving themselves always 
victorious to their own people. 

In the meantime, here we are having a breathing space 
back from the noise of battle before being used again 
where we can do the most good. There is plenty doing 
here, though. For instance, I inclose a piece from the 
wing of a Hun airplane that I saw brought down by two 
Frenchmen reeling out of space from a height far beyond 
the reach of the naked eye whence the noise of the battling 
machine guns had come to us only as a faint "pit-pat" 
scarcely to be noticed. Unfortunately the two Boches in 
the plane were not killed, but the crews of three other 
planes bagged here by the French yesterday were killed, 
as they should have been, either in battle or in crashing to 
earth. The fabric from this airplane wing is another 
evidence of the Hun's shortage of raw materials, for it is of 
linen, not silk, the ideal stuff for such service. Do not 
get the bit of airplane cloth close to a light, or it will go 
up like celluloid. 



454 One Who Gave His Life 

I received one letter from you the evening of the 14th, 
just as our guns started to booming, and two more to-day. 
Thanks for the Childe Roland. There is more to write but 
no time at present. I know that New York is wild with 
excitement and joy over the victory, and is justly proud of 
the part that America has played in it. One of our divi- 
sions that acquitted itself with distinction had never been 
under shell fire before. Active operations are likely to 
continue for some time, I believe, but not with any Hun 
menace. Much love to Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

Here are a piece of Queen Anne's lace and a common 
ordinary clover blossom which came from right outside 
the billet where I am sleeping now. The lace was plenti- 
ful around school, but since then I had seen none until I 
arrived here. 

When all this is over I may feel like a little vacation, 
and a vacation in France. I am in love with this country 
and its people. And now I suppose you will be thinking 
some of them must be in love with me. Well, some of 
them do think pretty well of me. Love. Q. 

The 1 68th broke camp on the night of July 22, marched 
through Chalons — all the marches at this period were 
made at night — and at 4 A.M. of the 23rd entrained at 
Coolus. A day was spent in a railroad journey which 
passed through the suburbs of Paris, so that the men 
could see the Eiffel Tower from the car windows, but 
which ended at night at Changis near Meaux, about 
75 miles almost due west of their starting place. Here 
there was a rest of about twenty-four hours and here Mills 
and Lieutenant Pearsall were notified that they were to be 
promoted to be first lieutenants. Mills used the occasion 
to write one more note, the last he sent home, probably the 



His Last Word 455 

last lines he ever put on paper. It reached his parents a 
month later, on August 23, along with his letter of July 22, 
written two days before. Here it is : 

July 24, 1918. 

Dear Mother: I have been informed to-day that I 
have been recommended for promotion, and that the 
recommendation is likely to be acted on any day. 

The situation continues highly favorable for the Allied 
armies and you should be very happy. 

Much love to Dad and yourself. Quincy. 

At 9 o'clock on the night of the 24th, the men were 
loaded upon auto trucks and went rolling away north 
over the inky roads. They travelled all night, now 
progressing, now halting as the way was clear or 
obstructed. They dozed or struggled to keep awake. 
Silence, for the most part, fell upon them. What strange 
communings with their inward selves there must have 
been upon that weird and fateful progress through the 
dark into the dreary dawn of a day of threatened death 
and horror. 

The trucks halted in the early light, just outside Epieds, 
a small town in the Bois de Fere in the Department of the 
Aisne northeast of and not far from Chateau-Thierry. 
The stiffened and tired men dismounted in a soggy, drizzly 
atmosphere into a battle-desolated country. The great 
drive north, of the Allies, was in progress. Desolation and 
glory were stalking hand in hand as the Germans re- 
treated, bitterly contesting every foot of the ground over 
which they had swept as ruthless invaders four years 
before. The Twenty-sixth, the New England Division, 
had been forcing back the enemy for many days, covering 
itself with honor. The Rainbow Division was now to 
relieve its decimated and exhausted units. Mills and his 



456 One Who Gave His Life 

comrades literally descended from their rude transport 
wagons into the thick of battle on this grey, damp, cheer- 
less morning of July 25. Alighting, they were formed 
up and ate a mouthful of breakfast from their emergency 
supply, which they carried individually. In such hurried 
movements, the camp kitchens could not keep up with 
the Division. Soon the men were marched forward into 
some woods two miles to the north of Epieds. Outposts 
were thrown forward and, as the Germans were shelling 
the tract and searching it with machine gun fire, holes 
were dug into which the men crept for protection. The 
woods were torn by shot and shell, and the earth was a 
wilderness. 

At this time and place, trench warfare had been 
abandoned; the fighting was relatively in the open. It 
consisted of alternate dashes forward by the American 
troops, driving the Germans before them, and pauses to 
recover breath, reorganize the units and consolidate the 
hold on the newly gained ground. The advance line 
where held by the i68th had reached the edge of a wood, 
part of the F6ret de Fere, and to the north lay a cleared 
rectangle about one kilometer or perhaps 250 acres in 
extent, the Croix Rouge farm, where Prince Eitel Fritz had 
made his headquarters for many weeks in the riotous days 
of the expected seizure of Paris . The trees were sadly torn 
by the storm of shot and shell of previous days ; the farm 
and portions of the wood were still strongly held by the 
Germans and the fighting across them had been terrible. 

On the 25th, however, as the AlHes held the aggressive 
and were quiescent on account of the exchange of divisions, 
there was no incident to vary the more or less continuous 
bombardment. The early part of the 26th was equally 
stagnant. At 3 o'clock, however, the order came to 
renew the attack. The First and Second Battalions of 
the 1 68th were engaged in it, the Third being in support. 



Consummation 457 

The Americans drove the Germans back with severe rifle 
fire and threatened bayonet charge. But the resistance 
was firm ; every foot of ground was contested. The Prus- 
sian Guard was holding the enemy's Hne. One of the 
bloodiest struggles of the war developed. Hour after 
hour it went on. Major Stanley's Second Battalion 
manoeuvred, fired, took cover, rushed forward, took cover 
again, always moving on toward the Croix Rouge farm 
road, its objective. 

Around 4 o'clock, Company G was ordered to back up 
Company F in an attack to be made across an open field 
of oats. Both were in the wood at its edge ; the Germans 
began a concentrated shell fire and there was no shelter 
except the scattered trees. "We could do nothing but 
trust in God," writes Captain Frank B. Younkin, the 
commandant of Company G, describing the moment. 

But Mills had the impulse to act. His constant solici- 
tude for the safety of his men was strong upon him . Alone , 
he went forward to the edge of the timber, in face of the 
fire, vainly seeking for some sort of cover to which he 
might guide his platoon. He found none and gave up 
the search. It was now between 4:30 and 5 o'clock. He 
turned back toward the advancing line and had gone a 
distance of some thirty -five yards when a German artillery 
shell hit the ground within a few feet of him and exploded. 
Fragments of it struck him and he was instantly killed. 



It was a woful day for Company G, that 26th of July. 
Every officer in it was hit except Lieutenant Frank S. 
Pearsall. Lieutenant Rubel was killed at the same 
moment with Mills by a fragment, probably, of the 
same shell. Seventy-two members of the i68th gave 



458 One Who Gave His Life 

their lives that terrible afternoon between 3 o'clock and 
sundown ; more than five hundred were wounded. 

The regiment still advanced after Mills fell. It swept 
on past his body to the objective set for it. Next day the 
Third Battalion took the lead, reached the Ourcq and 
crossed the river under cover of the mist at daybreak. By 
noon, it carried the crest of Hill 212. The Hill was taken 
and retaken at fearful cost in life. Only on the 3 1 st , when 
reinforcements came up, could the line push forward. 
Then it went on through Sergy to the heights and forests 
north of Nestles and later to the Vesle and to Fismes. 
The battle was the most trying and costly that the Iowa 
regiment engaged in. In the seven days' fighting from 
July 24 to the 31st, it lost 1482 men, or fully fifty per cent 
of its effective strength at that time. Of these, 227 men 
were left sleeping under crosses at the Croix Rouge farm, 
on Hill 212 and on the banks of the Ourcq. 



On the morning of the 27th, when the Second Battalion 
was withdrawn to the support positions, Mills's comrades 
went out to find his body. Lieutenant Pearsall had seen 
him and Lieutenant Rubel dead the evening before, but 
was guided to the exact spot where he lay by an officer of 
the 167th Regiment. He searched the clothing but found 
nothing of value, so he returned all the articles to the 
pockets. Mills's revolver, wrist watch and binoculars 
were not found. 

A grave was dug practically where he fell. Rubel was 
laid near him, and about them were seven of their men 
who had fallen. They were all wrapped in their blankets 
— naturally no coffins were available — and laid in the 
earth that they had consecrated with their blood, rever- 



Days of Torture 459 

ently but without ceremony. It will be seen that the 
account cabled to New York and cited in The Evening 
Sun's editorial given at the beginning of this book was 
erroneous in some details. But in fact, Sergeant Hartzell, 
who was aid to Chaplain Robb of the Regiment, carefully 
noted the location and marking of all the graves. Mills's 
was 25-A, on the map known as " Conde-en-Brie." How- 
ever, he no longer lies there. His body has been trans- 
ferred to the Martyrs' Cemetery near Chateau-Thierry, 
where it lies in a section at present used entirely for the 
dead of the Forty-second Division. According to a 
notification sent to his father and signed by Colonel 
Charles C. Pierce of the Quartermaster's Corps, acting as 
Chief of the Graves Registration service, and dated 
December 27, 191 9, the new grave is No. 27, Section H, 
Plot I, American Cemetery 608, at Seringes-et-Nesles, 
Aisne. It is near, but somewhat north of the locality 
where he was killed. His father and mother have decided 
that he shall rest there. They believe that this would 
have been his wish. They have formally advised the War 
Department to this effect. 

Not until August 24 — only two days less than a month 
after Mills's death — was any word received by his family 
from the Government. Through some strange compli- 
cation, the news then cabled to the War Department was 
that Lieutenant Mills was missing in action; his parents 
were so notified on August 24, and the newspapers pub- 
lished the announcement. Terrible anxiety, and uncer- 
tainty more torturing than the finality of death were 
suffered in consequence. Inquiries in all directions 
proved unavailing until strong newspaper pressure was 
brought to bear; then, on September 3, The Sun's War 
Correspondent in France cabled The Evening Sun office: 
"Lieutenant Quincy S. Mills killed by high explosive 
shell near Epieds on July 26." On September 22, the 



46o One Who Gave His Life 

fatal news was officially communicated to Mr. and Mrs. 
Mills. 

In the interval, letters from him constantly arrived, 
keeping alive vain hopes. They had been written and 
despatched prior to July 26, but it was hard to realize 
that these vivid utterances were as if from the dead. The 
reasons for the delay in notification of his death are 
plausible if not satisfying. From the beginning of Foch's 
offensive, the casualty lists were so heavy that the War 
Department was always weeks behind with the announce- 
ments. This does not explain, however, the blunder in 
the first message as to Mills's fate. The notification of 
Lieutenant Rubel's death did not reach his family for a 
week after the first message to Mills's, though both men 
fell at the same moment. 

In the days of agonized suspense as to her son's fate, 
Mrs. Mills wrote to Colonel Roosevelt, asking if he could 
aid in securing certain information as to Quincy. This 
was the reply he sent • 

Office of The Kansas City Star, 

Theodore Roosevelt, New York Office, 

347 Madison Avenue, 
September 3, 191 8. 

My dear Mrs. Mills: I sympathize most deeply with 
you. Believe me, I would do anything in my power to help 
you, but there is absolutely nothing I can do. I could not do 
it for my own son Quentin when he was killed ; I was not able 
to do it for the scores of mothers and fathers who have appealed 
to me as you have. In the case of Quentin I made no inquiry 
whatever, for there was nothing I could do. In the other 
cases all I can advise is to communicate instantly through your 
local Red Cross branch, with the Red Cross. They have a 
special bureau which looks after cases like that of your gallant 
son. 

I am exceedingly sorry that I am powerless to help you in 



Farewell Letters 461 

your great affliction. I need not say to you how deeply I 

sympathize with you. 

Faithfully yours, 

Theodore Roosevelt. 



In May, 1919, when the first of Mills's trunks to arrive 
from France was delivered to his parents by the Effects 
Bureau of the War Department, there was found in the 
tray a large unsealed envelope on which was written : 

In case of my death, the inclosed letters are to be mailed 
to the persons to whom they are addressed. 

QuiNCY S. Mills. 

Only one letter remained. There had been two but a 
memorandum explained that he had mailed one to its 
destination. It seems strange that his instructions 
regarding the other were disregarded. However such is 
the fact. The letter was addressed to his mother ; it was a 
word of farewell. It is undated and affords no precise 
clue as to when or where it was written. From the 
expressions as to his brief experience in the army and to 
the uncertain outcome of the conflict, Mrs. Mills deduces 
that it was penned to forestall eventualities shortly before 
Mills first entered the trenches in February, 19 18, leaving 
his baggage behind him and facing the peril which ulti- 
mately was realized in his death. That this deduction 
was correct has since been proved by information received 
from Lieutenant Pearsall and Captain Adams stating 
that the baggage of the i68th was stored in warehouses 
behind the lines when the soldiers went into the trenches 
in February, and that they never again had access to their 
trunks. 

In its noble devotion of himself to the cause his country 
had espoused, in its lofty appeal on grounds of spiritual 



4^2 One Who Gave His Life 

duty for acquiescence by his parents in the decree of fate, 
this is the crowning utterance of a life of high ideals : 

My dear Mother: I am writing you here a letter 
which may very well be made too long and cannot very 
well be too short, for farewells are best when not long 
drawn out. 

For yourself, I would have you bear in mind the im- 
mortal philosophy placed by Maeterlinck in the mouths 
of Mytyl and Tytyl: "Where are the dead?" "There 
are no dead ! " In my brief experience in the army no 
truth has been driven home to me so forcibly as this. 
Live by it. 

For myself, I would have you believe that whatever end 
I met, I met it with an even mind, constant in the con- 
clusion that I would rather have gone out to this war and 
not come back than not to have gone at all. My chief 
regret, if I may not live to see the end, is that I may not 
witness the triumph of right over wrong in this the most 
terrible eruption of the forces of reaction in the history of 
man. That these forces can triumph is unthinkable; if 
they are to win I would rather die now than witness the 
victory. 

It is a great comfort, greater than I can tell you, to 
realize that for the future you and Dad will have sufficient 
of this world's goods to assure you against worry. I 
would advise you to realize on your property and utilize 
the proceeds so that you may both get the most out of life, 
and to do this at once. I regret that you are too prone to 
grieve over matters which are rendered only worse by re- 
pining, and trust that you will have the greatness of spirit 
in this trial to see to it that your satisfaction at having 
had a son to give to such a service overbalances your 
sorrow at having lost a son. In a case where there was 
only one thing for the son to do there should be no room 



His Coloners Praise 463 

for vain regrets on the part of his mother. Remember me 
but do not become morbid over me. That would be the 
greatest dishonor you could do to my memory. 

With more love than I can express for Dad and yourself. 

QUINCY. 

During the period of uncertainty as to their son's fate, 
Mr. and Mrs. Mills wrote many letters to officers of the 
1 68th Regiment, asking for information. The answers 
came with words of praise and consolation, which though 
they could not heal the wound in their hearts yet helped to 
soothe the pain. Colonel Matthew A. Tinley, the com- 
mander of the regiment at this time, under date of Oc- 
tober 29, after expressing his regret at the suspense they 
had endiired, went on : 

It was my pleasure to know your son, and my regret that I 
did not know him better. It is useless for me to attempt to 
tell his mother of the clean, fine qualities he possessed, but it 
will be gratifying to you to know that others recognized and 
appreciated those qualities. Your sacrifice in this struggle has 
been supreme, and we can only hope that the end gained will 
be commensurate with the price paid. 

To the end Quincy did his duty as you would expect, man- 
fully and cheerfully. He met his fate leading his men, and his 
death was instantaneous. Quincy and twelve of his men were 
buried near together; in all about twenty-five of our regiment 
are grouped there awaiting the hour for return. Your son 
gave his life for the welfare of his fellowmen, and he is now 
enjojdng the -^eward of a life well spent, duty done and his 
labors complete. We who are left behind, very naturally and 
selfishly, regret his going and long for his return. 

There is nothing we can say to lessen your sorrow, Mrs. 
Mills, but we do want you to know that we share it, and like 
you await the hour when his loss will become a sweet memory 
with the sting softened by time. 



4^4 One Who Gave His Life 

Major Claude M. Stanley, who commanded the Second 
Battalion, wrote on August 21, confirming the official 
notification. He added : 

I am glad to tell you that I am proud to have known 
Lieutenant Mills, and to have had him as an officer in my 
battalion. He was a fine officer, and faithfully performed his 
duties to the end. He was killed, instantly, on the after- 
noon of July 26 when this battalion was making an attack on a 
place known as Red Cross Farm, northeast of Chateau-Thierry. 
I saw him only a few minutes before we went into the attack. 
He was cheerful and happy. He and Lieutenant Rubel of 
Co. G were killed together, and were only a few yards from 
where I was at the time. 

I feel that my loss of him is great. You may always know 
that he did his full duty, and in this hour of your great sorrow 
may God's richest blessings be yours. 

The Chaplain, the Rev. Winfred E. Robb, wrote assur- 
ing Mr. Mills that his son had not suffered from his fatal 
wound. Death, he said, was instantaneous. 

Captain Frank B. Younkin, commander of Company G 
was wounded severely a short time before Mills was killed. 
He was more than six weeks in hospital. As soon as he 
was able, on September 18, he wrote: 

I cannot write a letter of sympathy such as I would like. 
It was such an awful blow to us all to see Quincy and Sol both 
go, and I can only say that every officer in the regiment, and 
all the men in Co. G join me in extending sympathy to you 
in your great sorrow. 

Quincy died as he lived, a true, faithful officer, and if he had 
had more consideration for himself instead of looking out for 
the safety of his platoon he no doubt would be alive to-day. 
No doubt you wish to know just how he was killed, and I will 
tell you as nearly as I can from what others have told me, for 
I was wounded a short time before. . . . 



Captain and Comrade 465 

While I know this is an awful blow to both of you, as well as 
ourselves, it may comfort you to look upon your loss as a 
sacrifice for democracy and the freedom of the world. If 
there is anything I can do to be of comfort to you, I trust you 
will not hesitate to ask me. If I am fortunate enough to return 
to the States, I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you both. 

Captain Younkin added in a postscript assurance that 
Mills had been recommended for promotion. He wrote 
again on October 24, giving particulars as to the location 
of the grave on the Croix Rouge farm. He then mentioned 
the killing of Lieutenant Nelson on October 7. After 
returning to America, he wrote on July 24, 1919, saying : 

On the eve of the first anniversary of Quincy's death I feel 
it only fitting that I should drop you a few lines. We have been 
home some two months now, and I am again back in my 
business which I found well taken care of by my brother during 
my absence. I found my wife and boy looking well, and so 
glad to see me. In fact everyone was. I never realized I had 
so many friends until I got back. 

Just a year ago to-day, we were all in a village called Chan- 
gis, near Meaux. It was from here we took French trucks 
for the Chateau-Thierry front, and what was to be our really 
first great battle. I can well remember Quincy coming up to 
me before we got into the trucks and asking where we were 
going. But at that time none of us knew anything. 

I trust that this finds both of you well, and that it may in 
some way help you in your sorrow. 

Lieutenant O. B. Nelson, whose fate Captain Younkin 
told in one of his letters, had written on September 26: 

I wish to express my sincere sympathy for you, his parents, 
and I want to assiu-e you that I certainly miss him. He was 
my Buddy in the company, and we were always together 
whenever we could be. He was liked by every member of the 
company, and every man misses him. 
30 



466 One Who Gave His Life 

Lieutenant Mills was killed while leading his platoon into 
action a short distance north of Chateau-Thierry. His platoon 
was right along beside mine. I was on the right and Lieuten- 
ant Mills on the left, advancing toward the Germans, and 
Lieutenant Mills died fighting like a true soldier. I was 
wounded on the same day, went to the hospital and was there 
for a month when I recovered and returned to our company. 

Another, whose sympathy and practical help with 
necessary information touching the recovery of Mills's 
effects were deeply appreciated, was Lieutenant Frank S. 
Pearsall. In a letter dated October 15, he says: 

We were advancing through a thick wood, Quincy was on 
the left and I on the right. They were shelling the woods 
heavily, and the company became somewhat disorganized to a 
certain extent. I went around and tried to get things straight, 
and while on this mission is when I saw Quincy. He and 
Lieutenant Rubel had both been killed. I was the only officer 
who had not been hit, but at the present I am in the hospital, 
having been hit three times in the last drive. I thought of 
writing you after the July drive was over, but instead wrote to 
Mr. Pierce, one of Quincy 's friends at the City Hall, and told 
him to convey the news to you. I do hope he has fulfilled my 
request. 

We all miss Quincy, as he was loved and respected by every- 
one, especially by the men. Quincy and I got closer to one 
another after we came over here, and we agreed upon almost 
every question. I found him a very broad and fair minded 
companion. The only time we would disagree on anything 
would be at night when he wanted to sleep, and I wanted to 
talk, so you see there was not much disagreement between us. 

Lieutenant Pearsall wrote again on November 6, fur- 
nishing details of Mills's end which have been embodied 
in the account given above. In response to an inquiry 
that had been made he said the dog Mills had been 
interested in still lived and was a pensioner of the regi- 



Well Remembered 4^7 

mental kitchens. From Marshall, Texas, on May 30, 
19 1 9, he wrote a letter giving advice as to the best method 
of recovering some mislaid baggage. On one point, his 
view is interesting and no doubt well grounded : 

As for Quincy's pistol and field glasses, I never saw them, but 
will explain what I think became of them. You see, at first 
only the officers and a few of the men had pistols, and just as 
soon as a man fell who had a pistol the men would make a rush 
to get it, as they all wanted one. This, I think, was O.K. 
Why a pistol idle, when there were plenty of men to use it? 

Quincy was killed late in the afternoon of July 26, and 
early next morning when I went out looking for him, a 167th 
Regiment officer took me to where he lay. I searched him and 
found nothing of importance, so put the articles back into his 
pockets. I could have taken better care of his effects but for 
the fact that I was the only officer left, and we had to attack 
again that day, and every day for six following days. 

Sergeant Will Scott, of Company G, in whom Mills had 
taken much interest, repUed to a letter from Mrs. Mills 
asking for information 

The last time I saw your son he was leading his men bravely, 
and toward the enemy. We were in the drive between Rheims 
and Soissons. The last town I remember going through was 
Epieds. We were driving the Germans before us, and the 
fighting was c[uite heavy. 

I was wounded about the same time Lieutenant Mills was 
killed. We miss him very much, and extend our heartfelt 
sympathy to you, his Mother, who will miss him far more 
than we. We are glad to be able to write that he died a sol- 
dier's death, fighting the enemy to the last— a firm, true, loyal 
American citizen. 

By an odd coincidence another young native of Iredell, 
Henry S. Grose, was drafted into Company G, in the 
process of filling up the ranks after the heavy losses of the 



468 One Who Gave His Life 

July drive. Mr. Mills heard of this and wrote to him. 
He answered from the Y. M. C. A. headquarters in Burgh- 
rohl, Germany, on March 20, 19 19, recalling having as a 
small boy seen Mr. Mills. He had not previously known, 
however, that he was Quincy's father. He continued: 

I did not know your son personally. The officers and men 
both speak very highly of him. They say he was a good officer. 
I know he was because this is the best company in the A. E. F. 
I have been with it since August 26, 191 8. I never saw a 
better set of officers than we have. 

I showed your letter to the boys. They were glad to know 
that it was from their beloved lieutenant's father. They said 
to tell you that they appreciated him very much. One told me 
that he was wounded when your son was hit. He says that 
he was a brave man and the best officer he ever was under. 

One more comrade's letter must be given here. It was 
assuredly bom of a beautiful inspiration. It was written 
by Lieutenant L. M. C. Adams, who later became captain 
of Company H, from Chaumont, Haute Mame, on 
November 24, 191 8. It read: 

My dear Mr. Mills: The men of the American E. F. 
have set aside this day as one on which we shall all write 
" Dad's Christmas Letter." Every man here who has a father 
at home is to-day sending him a message of love and thanks for 
the early training which made us ready to come over here when 
our country asked us to. 

I have just written a long letter to my own Dad, and while 
doing so I could not help thinking of the fathers who would get 
no letter because their boys had made the greatest sacrifice 
a soldier can make. My association with Quincy was very 
close, and naturally my thoughts turned to you. I know that 
you and his mother miss not only the Christmas letter, but all 
the others which he was in the habit of writing. I know that a 
letter from someone else cannot begin to take the place of his, 



A Plattsburg Friend 469 

but I want to do a little something in his stead, even as I know 
he would want to do for me. 

Mrs. Mills knows that Quincy and I were in the same 
company at Plattsburg and that we were assigned to the i68th 
Infantry at the same time. He was in G and I in H, so we 
were close together all the time. We had many long talks 
together. Most of them concerned the things at hand, but 
often we went back into our past experiences and ideas. We 
came to think a great deal of each other, although there were, 
of course, many points on which our opinions differed. 

I was not with the regiment when they went into the ad- 
vance in which he lost his life. I had gotten into trouble a 
few days before when we were on the Champagne front. 
Quincy had hunted up the ambulance for me, and had helped 
put me into it. He was one of the last of my friends whom I 
saw before they went into the big fight. I have heard the 
story of his death from several of the officers and men who 
witnessed it. 

I do not know just where he is resting now, but I am making 
an effort to find out. I want to visit the spot before I leave 
France. If possible I will bring you a photo of it. I know 
that it is in one of the many places which the United States has 
taken over from the French, and which will be cared for per- 
manently by the people of both great countries. Personally, 
I think that it is the only proper resting place for those who 
gave up their lives on the field of battle. 

I know that he must have written you of his great admiration 
for the spirit of the French people which makes them all 
feel, even in the darkest hours, that to die "For France" is the 
noblest end which can come to a man. We marvel at the way 
the old mothers and fathers of this country who have suffered 
for years, and given up perhaps five or six sons, still go their 
way sustained by pride that they were able to make the 
sacrifice for their beloved France. 

Now, in the days of rejoicing that Peace and Victory have 
come, these people seem to be more than ever imbued with the 
spirit of pride. Their cemeteries have been put in wonderful 
condition. Every grave is covered with flowers and flags. 



470 One Who Gave His Life 

Every family, no matter how poor, has done its best to show 
the world that it contributed to the cause. 

I trust that you and Mrs. Mills will accept my heartfelt 
sympathy, and that, in spite of your great loss, this Christmas 
may not be entirely dark, but that it may be brightened by the 
knowledge that he met the fate which he anticipated, and 
made the sacrifice which he was entirely ready and willing to 

make. 

Sincerely yours, 

L. M. C. Adams. 

In the same spirit, Mills's old friend, Dr. Wallace 
Hoffman, wrote from American Base Hospital 65, with 
which he was serving in France, on Mothers' Day, 1919, 
telling Mrs. Mills how he was thinking of her and of 
Quincy. He said: 

Quincy and I always had a great deal in common. Just a 
year ago when I entered the service he wrote me a character- 
istic letter. It was spring and I think he was in Lorraine. 
My answer to him was returned to me just a few days ago. 
. . . With your sorrow there must also be blended pride in 
the part your son played in the big affair. 

A letter from David F. St. Clair, of Washington, D. C, 
a family friend, dated September 22, 1918, is of strong 
interest as evidence of Mills's state of mind as he entered 
the army : 

He may never have told you, but from conversations with 
him I know that he died as he wished to die. Once in the 
little sitting room where you now are he said to me, in speaking 
of the necessity of universal military training, that he would 
die on the battlefield to emphasize the wisdom of establishing 
this principle in the polity of our government. 

" But that is not your choice of death ? " I said. 

"It is," he replied, "I shall go that way." 

I shall never forget the seriousness of his tone of voice, and 



Command by Kindness 47 1 

ever vsince I learned he was in France I have looked in every 
casualty list to see his name among the dead. 

Quincy's sense of duty glowed as that of a Crusader. He 
was one of the most serious souls I have ever known. When he 
differed with me — as he always did with such good will — it was 
with such strength of conviction, that I sometimes felt men- 
tally staggered and paralyzed. "Why," I said to myself, "I 
must be wrong. It can't be any other way." 

The end of his life has emphasized as nothing else in his life 
could his devotion to duty, but without his life, as you knew 
it from day to day, his death would mean but little. 

Besides the letters to Mills's parents given above in 
part, Lieutenant Pearsall sent a communication to Mr. Al. 
Pierce, the City Hall representative of The Evening Sun, 
giving the details of the fatal struggle at the Croix Rouge 
Farm. This resulted in the publication of an article fully 
narrating Mills's end. The facts have all been incor- 
porated in the foregoing pages. It included, however, this 
tribute by Pearsall to his lost comrade : 

I joined the regiment the same day Lieutenant Mills did 
and being a U. S. R. we became fast friends, particularly after 
we got over here, I found him to be a real man in every way, 
well liked by all the officers in the regiment and especially by 
his own men. He had a way of handling those under him by 
kindness, a thing which cannot be done by everybody for the 
lack of understanding. However, he got the work out of them 
in this manner, which I think is a great trait to be blessed with. 
We all mourn his death, and vow that it will not have been 
in vain. 

Lieutenant Pearsall himself is a fine sample of the 
American volunteer soldier and officer. He was only a 
boy of twenty-three, a bank clerk in the little Texas town 
of Marshall when war was declared. He volunteered, 
took his training at Camp Leon Springs, Texas, and was 



472 One Who Gave His Life 

ordered when commissioned to the i68th. In the six 
days after Mills and Rubel were killed, Younkin and 
Nelson being previously wounded, Pearsall carried the 
whole responsibility of commanding Company G in the 
continuous fighting to the banks of the Ourcq. He was 
at last badly wounded, passed several months of pain in a 
Paris hospital and was discharged from the army on his 
home coming in the spring of 1 919 as ten per cent perma- 
nently disabled. In addition, he lost practically all his 
baggage and effects and never received promotion that was 
promised him. With characteristic courage, he resumed 
business in his old home state and is making his way 
in the world by his own efforts. 

A beautiful act of kindly service was performed by Mrs. 
Mabel Fonda Gareissen after the removal of Mills's body 
from the grave on the battlefield and at a time when his 
parents were deeply anxious as to the disposition made of it. 
She had already written a letter of sympathy and comfort 
from Limoges, France, where she was doing war work. 
In it she dwelt upon the friendship between Quincy and 
her own dead son. She wrote again in January, 19 19, 
assuring Mrs. Mills of the care taken to make certain the 
identity of the bodies of the soldiers. She also gave 
details of the measures taken to care for the graves. She 
added a promise to visit Mills's grave at the earliest 
opportunity. This promise she kept in February, and, 
afterwards, sent a letter to Mrs. Mills giving an account 
of her pilgrimage which was most comforting both in the 
information it conveyed and through its consolatory spirit. 
She wrote from Bordeaux on February 24, 191 9, after a 
visit to Paris and a side trip to Chateau-Thierry. At the 
latter place. Lieutenant Read, the aviator-photographer, 
interested himself in her mission and allowed her the 
use of his car and chauffeur. She describes thus her 
journey : 



At Mills's Grave 473 

The day I went to Quincy was a glorious spring day. All 
nature was glad to be alive. When we reached the great 
meadows the songs of larks filled the sunlight as if to tell us 
"There is no death." Never will I forget the effect it 
produced on us all, 

Quincy's earthly body has been brought out of the forest and 
has been placed with many of his comrades of the Rainbow 
Division — in fact all in this little cemetery are of that division. 
Officers and their men lie side by side regardless of rank, as it 
should be, for there is but one rank in Heaven. The cemetery 
is not yet finished, others are to be brought from the forest to 
fill it, among them Lieut. Rubel. Stout tree posts surround 
the lot, stretched well with heavy barbed wire. The men lie 
head to head and a simple cross marks each grave. When it is 
finished, the flag, cut round with fibre ribbon, red, white and 
blue, will decorate the center of each cross. 

The greatest care is being taken of the fallen, I am glad to say. 
As fast as possible they are removed from their solitary, 
temporary places and arranged in cemeteries. I wanted to 
carry greens and flowers for you, but it was impossible to get 
anything anywhere. We even looked about the woods. 

As I stood over Quincy's grave in the midst of all these who 
fell right there of the Rainbow, a longing came over me to have 
my darling with his own, for with all the anguish of the parents 
there is something, in spite of it, noble and beautiful. These 
brave splendid young lives went out together and what they 
left behind rests side by side. I am certain when you come you 
will feel it all as I do. And with the awful void they have left 
in our lives, could we as devoted, unselfish mothers wish them 
back in this mess? But perhaps you do not realize what is 
ahead. We over here see no light for this martyred generation 
to which our boys belong. At least their troubles are over. 

There were numerous newspaper appreciations. That 
of The Evening Sun has been given at the beginning of this 
book. A column was dedicated "To a Friend" by The 
Charlotte News. The writer, Julian Miller, a fellow stud- 



474 One Who Gave His Life 

ent at Chapel Hill, speaks of the high hopes, the great 
expectations for Mills's career that were entertained when 
he graduated from the University. His rapid advance- 
ment on The Evening Sun assured friends that the fore- 
cast was about to be realized. But, "like many other 
virile young Americans, he volunteered for service and 
was among the first to reach the land of fury yonder." 
Then came the supreme sacrifice. "If many young men 
like this splendid fellow, with such ennobled ideals, with 
such prospect for brilliance in his profession, with such 
radiant hopes centered in him, paid the price for its 
possession, Epieds was a costly acquirement." 

The Greensboro, N. C, Daily News published a fine 
tribute of which the following was the concluding 
paragraph : 

The honors won by this brave youth add a new lustre to the 
history of his native State, his native community and his alma 
mater. His example furnishes a new inspiration to duty and 
sacrifice to those who were privileged to know him and call him 
friend, and to all the great procession that preceded and 
followed him through the University's doors. 

In the Williamson County Sun of Georgetown, Texas, 
of which John M. Sharpe, a first cousin of Mills on his 
mother's side, is the editor, a sketch of his career with 
excerpts from his letter of July 22 appeared on Sep- 
tember 6. "It may be," says the opening part, "that 
he is in a prison camp ; it may be that his blood has been 
spilled on the fields of France; but it matters not, if he is 
dead, his life has been given willingly for mankind, for the 
life and liberty of the men, the women and children of 
France, of Belgium, of England, of the United States and 
of the World." 

In "The Sun Dial," The Evening Sun's editorial page 
"Column," this poem from the pen and the heart of Philip 



Victor of His Life 475 

Coan, whose appreciation of Mills as an associate in 
editorial work has been given, was printed on November 
8, 1918: 

To Q. S. M. 

Good friend, they tell me you are dead in France. 
Between us, greater than the torn expanse 
Of gray Atlantic, brims the darker flood . . . 
And so the place is empty where you stood ! 

A thousand times we talked in lighter days — 
Alas — till interchange to either gaze 
Had made of the companion's soul and creed 
An open page one scarce could help but read. 

Now, poor remembrance seeks your song or pun 
Drowned in the bitter rush of Acheron; 
Did aught dwell so with you of all I said. 
Does something, friend, of me lie with you dead? 

What thoughts this hour and aye are yours? I trust. 
Those clarion thoughts that dashed your dust to dust! 
So, like the Grecian woman struck to stone. 
You live the unspent hour ne'er overthrown. 

Full few of those the breast of earth shall keep 
May win at dying such an ample sleep; 
What spirits, cleansed as yours with battle fire, 
Its glow departing, shall be quenched in mire? 

Some may forget, some, thousand times recite 
Their hero season's legend long grown trite; 
Safe from the touch of Time to chill or soil. 
You, victor of your life, hold fast its spoil. 

None has a greater claim to share in the praise bestowed 
upon the Rainbow Division in a General Order reviewing 
its record, than Mills, although he had answered his last 
roll call three weeks before it was published. In this 



476 One Who Gave His Life 

Major General Menoher, the commander touches on the 
trench experiences in Lorraine, the Champagne defensive 
and the Chateau-Thierry drive. He says : 

For your services in Lorraine, your division was formally 
commended in General Orders by the French Army Corps 
Commander under whom you served. For your services in 
Champagne, your assembled officers received the personal 
thanks and commendation of General Gouraud himself. For 
your services on the Ourcq, your division was ofhcially com- 
plimented in a letter from the Commanding General, ist Army 
Corps, of July 28, 1918. 

To your success, all ranks and all services have contributed, 
and I desire to express to every man in the command my 
appreciation of his devoted and courageous effort. 

The Association of City Hall Reporters held a special 
meeting on September 16, 19 18, in Room 9, City Hall, New 
York, their official headquarters, and adopted resolutions 
upon the death of their former member, instructing the 
secretary to send a copy to his father and mother : 

The Association of City Hall Reporters has learned with 
deep regret of the death on the battlefield in France 
of Lieutenant Quincy S. Mills, long an honored member of this 
Association. 

As a member of the reportorial and editorial staff of The 
Evening Sun, Lieutenant Mills was an industrious gatherer of 
news and a vigorous writer who lived up to the highest ideals 
of his profession. The members of the Association deeply 
deplore his death, but find cause for gratification that he died 
fighting in the greatest cause the world has ever known ; fight- 
ing for humanity; humanity not only in the present generation, 
but for long generations to come. Truly it may be said of him 
that he fought a good fight in a cause that the world will ever 
remember. 

Whereas, the Association has met in special session to take 



Fellow Workers' Tribute 477 

action on the death of Lieutenant Quincy S. Mills, now 
therefore be it 

Resolved, that these proceedings be spread upon the records 
of the Association, and that a copy thereof be sent to the father 
and mother of Lieutenant Mills as a token of the esteem in 
which he was held by his associates and fellow workers, and of 
their sincere regret at his death as well as an expression of their 
sorrow at their loss. 

Mr. James Blaine Walker, then Secretary of the Public 
Service Commission for New York City, an ex-newspaper- 
man and a member of the Association, was unable to 
attend the meeting. He wrote to Mr. Charles B. Ham- 
bidge, the President, a fine appreciation of Mills as a 
newspaper worker. He said : 

Quincy Mills and I were friends for years. We worked on 
many stories together and have been thrown into that intimate 
contact which only newspapermen know. In all his relations 
he was a most honorable gentleman, a most competent reporter 
and a most likable fellow personally. With high ideals, with 
the strongest integrity of purpose and without any shadow of 
wavering on questions of right and wrong as well as upon 
questions affecting the public weal, he was admirably equipped 
to play an important part in the journalistic history of New 
York City. It was typical of the man to respond instantly to 
the Government's roll call, not reckoning the loss of his well 
earned place in the journalistic profession or the possible 
consequences of military service at the front. 

Now that he has made the greatest of all sacrifices, I am 
sure his death was such a one as he desired. His career and 
his glorious ending will ever be an inspiration to his fellows, 
and, while we regret his death, let us all unite in honoring his 
memory and perpetuating the spirit of his life. 

The members of The Sun (formerly The Evening Sun) 
and The Herald staffs, who had served in the army formed, 



478 One Who Gave His Life 

on September i8, 1919, a post of the American Legion 
with ninety-four members. They named it the Quincy 
Sharpe Mills Post in honor of their dead associate, of 
whose newspaper and military career they were equally 
proud. 

On July 10, 1 9 19, in the ofBce of The Evening Sun, then 
at No. 170 Nassau Street, New York, a bronze tablet, 
subscribed for by all the staff of the paper, was unveiled 
with simple exercises. It has been since removed to the 
new offices at No. 280 Broadway, where it is conspicuous 
on the wall of the large news room. 

The inscription on it is this: 

THE STAFF OF THE EVENING SUN 

ERECTS THIS MEMORIAL IN HONOR OF THREE 

OF ITS MEMBERS WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR 

LIEUT. QUINCY SHARPE MILLS 

CO. G, 168TH INFANTRY, U. S. A. 

KILLED IN ACTION NEAR EPIEDS, FRANCE 

JULY 26, I918 

LIEUT. CONRAD CRAWFORD 

CO. B, 47TH Infantry, u. s. a. 

KILLED IN ACTION AT HILL 220 NEAR SERGY, FRANCE 
AUGUST I, I918 

LIEUT. STUART EMMET EDGAR 

IO3RD AERO SQUADRON, U. S. A. 

KILLED IN LINE OF DUTY NEAR ST. MIHIEL, FRANCE 

AUGUST 17, I918 



He that loseth his life shall find it. 
ERECTED A.D. I919 



A Shining Mark 479 

At the dedication, Mr. and Mrs. Mills and relatives of 
Lieutenants Cravvford and Edgar were present along with 
the entire staff of The Evening Sun, many newspapermen 
from other offices and several members of the Mitchel 
city administration. The late George McLeod Smith, 
the Managing Editor, presided, paying tribute in a brief 
speech to the departed men and their spirit of devotion. 
The Rev. Duncan Browne, of Cragsmoor, L. I., affection- 
ately known among the soldiers as Chaplain Browne, 
unveiled the tablet. James Luby, the Editor of The 
Evening Sun, made an address in which he said: 

Death loves a shining mark and he took of the best we 
had to give. It would be too heartrending to go here into 
all the details of recollection which in the present instance 
prove the truth of the old saying. Only a few brief words 
may be said. Indeed, in a sense, all words are superfluous. 

Quincy Sharpe Mills, with whom I was intimately 
associated in his work here, was no longer a boy when the 
great call came to him. He had reached the maturity of 
early manhood and had attained it with a richness of spirit 
that singled him out from among his associates and fellow 
workers. He had already, for his age, made a success in 
life; he had entered upon a career which promised him 
profit and distinction. So far as human judgment could 
foresee, he had an unbroken future of advancement and 
usefulness before him. 

Mills had a mind of admirable clearness and alertness 
and a judgment quick and sure, vigorous but temperate. 
His spirit was high, his instinct of service masterful; his 
courage absolute, his sense of right aggressive. He looked 
at public questions without any personal or interested 
bias. His work all aimed at the public good and the 
triumph of honor. 

His private character was of a piece with his professional 



48o One Who Gave His Life 

attitude. Honor and faith and good intent animated his 
entire conduct and were transparently the principles of his 
intercourse with his friends and acquaintances. But, if 
his outlook upon life was essentially serious, I should 
do him an injustice if I ignored that other phase in which 
he was so very human. He had animal spirits, sense of 
humor and humor, a keen capacity for enjoyment and gifts 
for contributing to the keen enjoyment of all around him. 
He was as popular in the hour of relaxation as he was 
esteemed and admired in the serious pursuits of life. 
To-day his cheery voice is missed as much among 
us in the social hour, when thoughts are exchanged 
and the jest and the retort go 'round, as is his pen 
from the columns which it once strengthened and 
adorned. 

Mills gave up a present such as few men attain at his 
age and a future that relatively few can look forward to, in 
obedience to a characteristic mandate of his soul. Seeing 
from afar the coming crisis, he devoted his leisure to 
preparation for it during two years. We all knew he 
would go when the time came. It seemed quite natural 
to us when he went. It was Mills's way. He went, not 
withou t a sense of the shadow of fa te upon him . I believe , 
all his friends believe, that he did not expect to return. 
But he went. Hope beckoned him on in his chosen 
career. He had domestic allurements, present and 
prospective, to hold back his courage and devotion. But 
he went. 

Death came to him in what seems an appropriate way. 
His men were under fire at a point near Epieds, France, 
and in great peril. He went forward in the direction of 
the enemy seeking shelter for them. He stood alone when 
a shell fell beside him and exploding killed him. I think it 
was such a way as he might have chosen, himself, to die. 
At any rate, I know no better way. 



Vicarious Sacrifice 481 

The speaker next paid tribute to the courage and 
sacrifice of Lieutenants Crawford and Edgar. He then 
said in conclusion : 

In putting up this tablet, I take it, we, none of us, 
imagine that we are doing anything for the men named on 
it . They have rounded out their life stories by their action 
and by their sacrifice which leave nothing for their survivors 
to add. Their record is written with finality in their blood ; 
their reward belongs to another sphere of existence. 

It is in one sense for the benefit of future people that we 
do this thing to-day, for the benefit of the generations of 
workers who shall come after us to this institution to carry 
on the work and uphold the traditions that these three 
first, and we, later on, lay down. To the coming ones, 
the children of to-day, we aim to throw the torch of 
inspiration whose flame the dead have made leap higher 
and brighter even as they dropped it from their failing 
hands. Our hope is that so long as words graven in 
bronze may resist the assaults of time, the spirit of cour- 
age and devotion which these dead men showed may 
flourish not only in hours of crisis but in the easy flowing 
days of peace in the purpose and in the performance of those 
who are to cultivate the field in which they once labored. 

But at least equally with our regard to coming gener- 
ations of Evening Sun workers, we put up this tablet as an 
expression of ourselves and our feeling as respects the 
deaths of these three and especially as regards the vicar- 
ious character thereof. The soldiers who went forth in 
this war to fight and die, went in the eye of history and in 
the whole broad scheme of things as the representatives of 
the American people, the spokesmen, as it were, of the 
dedication that was in every heart. These three seem to 
us in a peculiar way to stand as our representatives, as the 
champions of this unit of endeavor to which we belong. 



482 One Who Gave His Life 

We cannot but feel that we have a share in their death, a 
share both in its tragedy and in its glory, and if their death, 
while consigning them to the shades, has led us into a more 
blessed life of peace and freedom, there is therefore the 
strongest reason why we should unify ourselves in heart and 
mind with them and with their consecration of themselves. 

But if we thus make their death in part our own, so 
would we also give them a part of our lives. We firmly 
purpose that they shall live in us and through us in mem- 
ory and in inspiration. They are not altogether dead 
even in the earthly sense. They not only live in gratitude 
and honor but they shall live in guidance, in force, in the 
vitalization of good and right as active principles of life. 
We dedicate this monument to the identification of our- 
selves with them in spirit. 

Not with idle grief, not with vain repining may their 
names be cherished but with serene trust that their sacri- 
fice already is having its reward in the new life that 
they have entered, and with cheery confidence that even in 
the world they have left behind, flower and fruit will grow 
out of the seeds they have planted. 

I will not say Goodby. These men remain with us 
more than ever the companions of our inmost spirits. I 
will not wish them rest. I cannot think of these ardent 
souls as dreaming through eternity even in visions of light 
or robed in clouds of glory. I will wish them effort and 
progress, upward struggle such as they delighted in while 
they were here. What finer prospect can I entertain 
to-day, what finer hope can I offer to those who loved and 
admired them, than that somewhere in the dim future, 
somewhere in the wide spaces of the ethereal universe we 
may find them, transfigured in sublime enterprise, once 
again showing us the way and leading us on? 



INDEX 



Adams, Captain L. M. C, 223, 441, 
461, 468-470 

Adamson, Robert, 152, 309 

Aisne, 455, 459 

Alabamans, 364, 451 

Alexander, Dr. Eben, 86, 108, 113 

Algerians, 451 

Alpha Theta Phi, 103 

Alsace, Front, 312 

American Soldier, the, 253, 269, 
277. 299- 306, 307, 310, 313, 316, 
330. 331- 334. 336, 348, 350. 351. 
353-356; 358, 366, 371, 381, 390- 
392; 402, 411, 413, 414, 416, 421, 
422, 431-437; 439-441; 451, 452, 
471 

Amiens, 357 

Andrew family, maternal an- 
cestors of Q. S. Mills, 15, 16, 24 

Association of City Hall Reporters, 
167, 476 

Ayres, Lieutenant Quincy C, 400 



B 



Baccarat, 340, 342, 404 
Badonviller, 330-333; 340. 341, 342, 

347, 351. 353, 357, 364, 370, 375, 

385,388,415,417 
Baker, Sjcretary of War, 314, 334 
Baltic, the, 230, 331, 236, 237, 238, 

240, 251 
Barber in hip boots, 294 
Baskerville, Dr. Charles, 113 
Bastile Day, 448 

Battle, Dr. Kemp Plummer, 74, 76 
Bennett, Colonel Ernest R., 222 
Benoit, Maire and Wife, 341 
Blue Devils, 293, 451 
"Blue Ridge, Footing It Through 

the," 81, 90, 92-102 
Boche vulnerability, 291, 292 
Brigade, 84th, 225 



Bringle, of Salisbury, N. C, 428 
Browne, Chaplain Duncan, 479 
Bryan, W. J., 140, 159, 160 
Bum, the mascot of Company G, 
326, 327, 384, 416, 437, 453, 466 
Buncombe County Club, 104 



Cambrai, 313 

Camp Attila, 443 

Camp Leon Springs, 471 

Camps, 3-5, 426 

Campbell, Douglas, 407 

Candy, Soldiers' craving for, 318, 

319, 348. 359. 364. 378, 379, 392, 

394 
Casey, Captain, 399 
Censoring men's letters, 253, 265, 

276-278; 289, 313, 315, 349, 355, 

356, 381, 392,435.444 
Chalons, 426, 443, 450, 452, 454 
Champagne, 424, 426, 441, 443, 469, 

476 
Changis, 454, 465 
Chapel Hill, N. C, 67, 70, 85-87; 

92, 108, 474 
Charlotte Observer, 73, 81, 95, no, 

112, 113, 114, 117, 119, 146 
Chiteau- Thierry, 85, 443, 444, 455, 

459, 464, 465, 466, 472, 476 
Chaumont, 267, 468 
City Hall, 148, 150, 153 154, 158, 

164, 177, 285, 302, 309, 344, 350, 

466, 471, 476 
Civil War, influence on Q. S. Mills's 

family, 29, 30, 41 
Coan, Philip, 168, 199-203; 475 
Cole, Robert, 435, 436 
Conde-en-Brie, 459 
Coolus, 454 
Cooper, Charles P., 114, 115, 116, 

152, 153 
Corey, Herbert, 350, 351 
Courtisols, 424, 426 



483 



484 



Index 



Cowan, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Mills, 

42,48-51:414,415 
Crawford, Lieut. Conrad, 478, 481 
Croix Rouge Farm, 456, 457, 458, 

464, 465, 471 



D 



Davidson College, 35 

Delanne, Madame Victorine, 301, 

319. 320, 382, 404 
Democracy, American, French and 

English, 405, 406 
Dialectic Society, 70, 71 
Division, the Twenty-sixth, Yankee 

or New England, 455 
Division, the Twenty-seventh, New 

York, 220 
Doohan, John, in, 112, 135 
Domremy, 397-399 
Dowd, Mrs. Frances Tunstall, 

59-60 



E 



Edgar, Lieutenant Stuart Emmet, 
478, 481 

Editorials, examples of Q. S. M.'s 
in The Evening Sun, 169, 170, 
171, 172, 175, 176, 178, 180, 181, 
182, 183, 185, 186, 187, 189, 190, 
192, 193, 195, 196, 197, 198, 207, 
208 

Eiffel Tower, the, 454 

English women and girls, 247, 257, 

^ 258, 265 

Epieds, 455, 456, 459. 467- 474. 478, 
480 

Evening Sun, The, Editorial on the 
death of Q. S. M., 3; 47, 74, 75, 
114, 116, 131, 135, 146, 148, 151, 
154, 155, 159. 160, 162, 164, 165, 
168, 171, 172, 173. 175. 185, 188, 
199, 206, 211, 216, 232, 278, 285, 
308, 314, 334, 383, 424, 435, 459. 
471, 473. 474. 476, 479,481 

Eyre, Lincoln, 350 



F Company, i68th Iowa Regiment 

of Infantry, 457 
Fevre Hotel, 301, 310, 320, 369, 380 
Fismes, 458 
Foch, General, 408, 420, 444, 446, 

452, 460 



F6ret-de-Ffere, 455, 456 

Forney, member of G Company, 

432 
France, La, Channel steamer, 261 
France, landscape and sundry as- 
pects of, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 
283, 284, 305, 306, 307, 320, 325, 
346, 369, 380, 387, 389, 395, 396, 
397.423.431. 435 
France, wonderful roads of, 346 
French forest conservation, 322, 

323,414 
French fuel shortage, 269, 270, 286, 

287, 297, 313, 340, 387, 434 
French soldiers, tine physique of, 

262, 274, 290, 326 
French soldiers and people, 262, 

27:?>, 274, 297-299; 320-325; 329, 

349. 381, 382, 399. 4". 434. 435 
French women and children, 276, 

309. 310, 326, :i33, 338, 375, 412, 

426, 427 
French women at work, 274, 325, 

423 



G Company, i68th Iowa Regiment 
of Infantry, 223, 267, 295, 304, 
329. 330, 350, 359-364; 366, 367, 
406, 413, 415, 416, 418, 419, 425, 
457, 464, 467, 469, 472 

Garden City, 221 

Gareissen, Mrs. Mabel Fonda, 345, 

472-473 
Gay, Alfred, 249, 250 
Gaynor, William J., 148, 150, 151- 

153; 344 
German-American press, 424, 425, 

426 
German desertions, 402, 403 
German intrigue, 344 
German prisoners, 259, 265, 293, 

452 
Globe, the, N. Y., 302, 351 
Golden Fleece, 91, 102 
Gondrecourt Training School for 

officers, 301, 345, 359, 385.386 
Gouraud, General, 424, 429, 439, 

476 
Governors Island, 211, 228, 230, 

279, 286, 409 
Graham, Edward Kidder, 74, 75, 

179, 180 
Gramcr, William A., 280, 283, 295, 

302, 304, 335, 351, 352, 355. 359. 

378. 388 



Index 



485 



Grave of Q. S. Mills, 459, 472, 473 
Graves, Louis, 113 
Graves, Ralph, 113 
Grcsham, Rrv. LeRoy, 113 
Grose, Henry S., 467, 468 



H 



H Company, i68th Iowa Regiment 

of Infantrv', 468, 469 
Hambidge, Charles B., 477 
Hancock, member of G Company, 

432 
Hartman, of Co. G, 395 
Hartzell, Serqcant Chester R., 459 
Haute Marne, 267, 284, 468 
Havre, 2fSr 

Hawley, \A 'alter L., 148 
Herald, The N. Y., 270, 291, 384 
"Heritage, The Price of Our," 342 
Hill 212, 458 
Hobbs, " Old Bill," cook for Co. G, 

354 
Hoboken, 151. 225 
Hoffman, Dr. S. Wallace, 77, 82-92; 

93, 94, 102, 408, 470 
Hughes, Harvey Hatcher, 73, 77, 

78, 85, 90, 102, 308 



I 



Iowa, 222, 268, 277, 358, 368, -571, 

45« 
Iowa officials inspect i68th, 223 
Iowa, Third National Guard Re?,i- 

mcnt of, 222 
Iowa tobacco gift?, 283 
lowans, 246, 3.^ I ,^43 
Iredell Blues, 42 
Iredell Count\-, North Carolina, 9, 

10, T3, 15, 17, iS, 20, 22, 24, 2,5, 

28, 38, 40, 41. 48, 467 



Jeanmesnil, 347 

Joan of Arc, 321, 352, 398, 399, 400, 
411 



K 



K Company of the i68t]i Regiment , 

345 
Katzenstein , Charles, 136, 138 
Ker-Avor, ("a'pp, .-J41, 347, 372 
Kocster, Philii>, 247, 248, 516, 452 



" Land of the Sky," 93 

Landmark, The Statesville, 42, 84, 

Langres, 267, 270, 271, 272, 299, 301 
Lamont, Hammond, 113 
Lazenby, Miss l.aura, 59-61 
Lindquist, of Co. G, 3^0, 361, 363 
Liverpool, 251 
Logan, S. R., y:^, 77-82; 90, 93, 94, 

97, 99, 102, 104, 136, 137 
Lorraine, Cross of, 352, 353, 402 
Lorraine Front, 309, 312, 340, 341, 

351, 357, 358, 370, 412, 417, 420, 

470, 476 
Luby, James, 308, 330, 336, 344, 

401, 417, 479-482 
Lufbery, Raoul, 407 
Lyon, C. C, 350 



M 



Mails fiom U. wS. A., 239, 251, 271, 
278, 2<S5, 286, 289, 290, 303, 304, 
305, 307, 308, 319, 337, 357, 358, 
378, 396, 410, 424, 454 

McAlamey, R. E., 113 

McAneny, George, i6i, 178, 206 

McClellan, George B., 148 

McCormick, Lieutenant Scott, 344, 
345 

Mel',] wees. The, 286 

McHenry, Captain Harry C, 342 

McKee family, maternal ancestors 
of Q. S. Mills, 14, 16, 17, 20, 24- 
29 

McKelway, Rev. A. J., 20, 21 

McKnight famih-, maternal an- 
cestors of Q. S. Mills, 21, 2i, 27 

Malgrejean, 401 

Marne, 297, 420, 429 

Marquis, Don, 281 

MaT-tin, Don, 384 

Martin, vSamuel L., 163-164 

Martyrs' Cemeteiy, 459 

Meaux, 454, 465 

Menoher, General Charles T., 476 

Mersey, the, 251 

Miller, Dr. Grier, 289 

Miller, Julian S., 473 

Miller, Captain T., 210 

Millikiri, Lieutenant, 290, 317 

Mills, Camp, 221, 222, 228, 232 

Mills fanily, paternal ancestors of 
O. S. Mills, 7, 8, 9, 10, 24, 40, 41, 
42, 43 



486 



Index 



Mills, Henry Mansfield, paternal 

grandfather of Q. S. Mills, 40, 42; 

his home Q. S. M.'s playground, 

49-56 
Mills, Miss Nannie Williams, 42, 

early recollections cf Q. S. Mills, 

51-54 

Mills, Mrs. Nannie Sharpe, mother 
of Q. S. Mills, II, 18, 19, 27, 28- 
37, 42, 43, 47, 57-59, 65, 66, 215, 
338, 339, 369, 427, 436 

Mills, Quincy Sharpe, Evening Sun 
on death of, 3 ; his antecedents 
and sacrifice, 4-7; Tar Heel edi- 
torial, 19-20; ancestral influences, 
28, 37-39; birth and early years, 
43-44; changes of home, 45, 46; 
at school, 46, 47; back in Statcs- 
ville, 47; musical initiation, 47; 
two aunts' recollections, 48-54 ; his 
boyhood playground as he saw it, 
55, 56; love of soldiering, of books, 
politics and pets, 56-58; no West 
Point ambitions, 56; a school 
clash, 59; congenial teachers, 59- 
61 ; preparations for college, 61, 
62; serious typhoid attack, 62; 
a Florida romance, 62, 63; early 
peculiarities of taste, 63-65; the 
note of duty, 65, 66; effects of 
typhoid attack, 67; entrance to 
University of North Carolina, 67; 
success in college, 69; summed up 
in Yackety-Yack, 70; contribu- 
tions to college publications, 68, 
69, 70, 72, y^, 77; "One of the 
boys," 77; sketched by S. R. 
Logan, 78-82; reminiscences of 
S. Wallace Hoffman, 82-92; ath- 
letics, 92; "Footing It Through 
the Blue Ridge," 92-102; anti- 
Frat crusade, 102, 103, 104; acti- 
vities at college, 104-109; gradua- 
tion, 108; plans in life, no; goes 
to New York, no; former stays 
there, in; finds quarters, no, 
in; successful job hunting, 112, 
1 13; landing on Evening Sun, 1 14; 
early work and anxieties, 115- 
117; letters home, 117 et seq.; 
theatres, operas, etc., 1 18-127; 
pays debts in Statesville, 117; 
speech at Alumni Dinner, 118; 
musical and dramatic criticism, 
1 19-127; moral standard in Art, 
123, 127; not Puritanical, 124; 
books and views of books, 127- 



131; other recreations, 131-132; 
love for cats and other animals, 
133-134; holidays far from home, 
134-136; father's illness, 137; 
love of family and home, 137; 
new boarding house, 138 ; bachelor 
housekeeping, 138, 139; seeking 
political anchorage, 140; re- 
united with parents in New York, 
141; search for religious system, 
141; quaint marriage prospectus, 
143; pays last of coUegedebts, 146, 
147; progress on Evening Sun, 146 
et seq.; work on Hudson-Fulton 
celebration, 148-150; relations 
with Mayor Gaynor, 150-152; 
City Hall and local politics, 148- 
153; Albany and other political 
correspondence, 152, 153; report- 
ing Roosevelt, 153, 155-158, 160; 
the Colonel's congratulations, 
158; at National Conventions, 
158, 159; encounter with W. J. 
Bryan, 159; Sulzer impeachment, 
160; Mitchel Mayoralty cam- 
paign, 161; New Orleans trip and 
big news beat, 161, 162; in a 
cyclone, 162; relations with 
Mayor Mitchel, 162-165; memoir 
by Samuel L. Martin, 163-164; 
family and personal life, 165-168; 
early volunteer editorials, "The 
Great Vibrator," 169; "Pithe- 
kophagi," 171; various topics 
handled, 172, 173; becomes an 
editorial writer, 173, 174; prepara- 
tory reading and study, 174, 175; 
hundred word editorials, 175; 
various subjects and styles, 175- 
198; sulky politicians, 177; in- 
terests and opinions, 1 79-181, 
preparedness, 183-189, 191-194; 
early sympathy with Belgium and 
France, 184; the Great War, 185, 
189, 190; labor selfishness, 182, 
190; Mexican trouble, 185; dis- 
loyalty, 194-196; Joffro and 
Viviani, 196-198; last editorial. 
197; paragraphing, 198; study b / 
Philip Coan, 199-203; training 
for a foreseen emergency, 204; 
first Plattsburg encampment, 
205-207; second, 209-210; drilling 
in New York, 211; war volunteer, 
211; Officer's Training Camp, 
211-219; relations with company 
commander, 214-217, 218, 219; 



Index 



487 



Mills, Quincy Sharpe — Continued 
conscientious scruples, 213, 217- 
219; commissioned 2nd Lieuten- 
ant, 219; en^jagement to marry, 
220; Masonic interests, 220; 
ordered to Camp Up ion, 220; 
transferred to Mincola, 220; sent 
to National Guard at Camp Mills 
as extra officer, 221 ; temporary as- 
signment to the 69th, New York, 
221; life at Garden City, 221; 
final attachment to the x68th In- 
fantry (Third National Guard of 
Iowa), 222; work training Com- 
pany G, 223; false start for 
France, 224; experiences on the 
President Grant, 225-228; back 
in New York, 228; last days at 
home, 229, 230; sails for Europe 
on the Baltic, 230; safe arrival, 
231 ; physique and personality, 
231-237; letters at sea and from 
England, 238-260; Baltic's crew 
and passengers, 240-244; per- 
sonal exf>eriences on board, 244- 
251 ; soldier's letters as seen by 
the censor, 253; English impres- 
sions, 256-259; German prisoners, 
259-260; letters from France, 261 
et seq.; arrival at Havre, 261; 
training at Rest Camp No. 2, 
261-266; contrast of British and 
U. S. mails, 264; at Fort de 
Peigney, 266-300; Christmas in 
medieval surroundings, 267, 272, 
275. 279; in charge of 50 men, 
267; practice work, 280, 281 ; 
again the cat, 282, 289; timely 
tobacoo from a friend, 283; fun 
buying shoes, 287; and New Year 
cards, 288; absorbing duties, 290; 
optimism as to Russia, 291; the 
German mind, 291-293; soldiers 
of all sorts, 293 ; peace aspirations, 
295; Jeanne d'Arc medal, 296; 
feeding well, 297; cheap money, 
297, 298; winning the Poilu, 298, 
299; Y. M. C. A. charmers, 299, 
300; commanding Co. G pro tem, 
301; billeted in Hotel F^vre, St. 
Ciergues, 303-329; the trench 
helmet and gas masks, 310, 31 1; 
prospects of the War, 312; light 
wines and beer, 315, 316; at 
Thi&tre des Poilus, 324; sundry 
photos, 323, 328; experiences 
under fire at Badonvillcr, 330- 



334, 340. 342, 343. 346. 347. 349" 
351. 35«-3(>4. 365. 366, 367, 368, 
375-377; the American soldier, 
raider, 330; battalion staff service, 
331 ; shells and gas, 331-334; con- 
tempt for slackers, 338; writing 
in a gunpit, 342; effects of bom- 
bardment, 343-344; orticer's pay, 
347; morals of American soldier, 
348; newspaper visit under heavy 
fire, 350-352; sundry kinds of 
shells, 353, 354; tribute to the 
army mule, 354; American sol- 
dier s traits, 356; trench reports, 
359~3(>4; in combat position, 366; 
acute discomfort, 368; Ireland's 
mistake, 370; National against 
State commissions, 370-371 ; more 
anti-slacker wrath, 373, 374; non- 
combatants under fire, 375-376; 
cats of No Man's-Land, 377; 
package week, tobacco and candy, 
2)7^1 379; Swiss huts in a hemlock 
forest, an ancient farmhouse, fun 
with a graphophone, 380-383; 
the company mascot deserts, 384; 
at Officers' School at Gondre- 
court, 385-38«, 392, 394, 395.4^4. 
407; gargoyles at Nancy, 387; 
second hitch in the trenches, 388, 
392; souvenirs, 393; pilgrimage to 
Domremy, 397-399; regaining 
weight after trench loss, 399, 400; 
trench order, 401; as to Huns 
bombing New York, 401, 402; 
British humor, 405, 406; back to 
company G, 406; letters to Alice 
Hale Morris, 409-414; to Mrs. 
Cowan, 414-415; more trench 
work, 416; flowers from the brink, 
417; incidents of the fight, 418- 
420; march to the Moselle and 
the Marne, 420; no fear of Ger- 
man success, 419, 420, 421; en- 
thusiastic as to American army, 
422; a problem solved, 423; rest- 
ing at Courtisols, 424; again on 
the march, 426; puzzle of letter 
dates, 430; praise again for Ameri- 
can troops, 432; their foibles, 433; 
the liquor question, 434; Rest 
camp, 436; from the battle field, 
439; new area of action, 441; 
"Missing in action," 443; vain 
hiding of danger, 443; witnessing 
the German Gettysburg, 444, 
445; details of Champagne vie- 



488 



Index 



Mills, Quincy vSharpe — Continued 
tory, 446-454; wonderful French 
foreknowledge, 447; personal 
experiences, 449, 450; to be pro- 
moted, 454-455; a weird night 
ride, 455; arrival in Bois de Fere, 
conditions, there, 455-457; seek- 
ing cover for men is struck by 
shell fragment and killed, 457; 
first interment of body, 458, 459; 
War Department news as to his 
fate, 459; farewell letter, 461-463; 
letters of sympathy to parents, 
463-47 1 ; newspaper apprecia- 
tions, 473-477; memorial tablet 
of The Evening Sun, 478; address 
of dedication, 479-482 

Mills, Thomas Millard, father of 
Q. S. Mills, 41-43, 137. 138, 141. 
403, 413, 424, 425, 468 

Mineola, L. I., 220 

Mitchel, John Purroy, 148, 161, 
162, 163, 164, 165, 177, 205, 207, 
216, 217, 309, 372, 438 

Montreal, 209 

Morn Hill Rest Camp, 255 

Morris, Alice Hale, 305, 409 

Morris, Mrs. John, 329, 409 

Morris, Mr. John, 409 

Moselle, 420 

Mule, the Army, 354 

N 

Nancy, 340, 387, 395 
Naulin, General, 439 
Nelson, Lieutenant Oscar B., 273, 

279, 290, 311, 312, 317, 318, 360, 

379. 392, 465 
Nestles, 458 
Neufmaisons, 341, 347 
Nice, 339 
North Carolina, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17, 

18, 20, 22, 25, 36, 43, 48, 61, 62, 

63, 81,428 

O 

Oak Ridge Preparatory School, 61, 

62, 107 
Osier, of Co. G, 401 
Ourcq, 458, 472, 476 
Outlook article by Q. S. M., 206 



Paper bombardments, 437 
Paris, 270, 282, 312, 339, 350, 388, 
420, 445, 446. 454. 472 



Peaisall, Lieutenant Frank S., 223, 

290, 317, 361, 401. 454. 457. 458, 

461, 466, 471, 472 
Peigney, Fort de, 261, 267-269; 271, 

278 
Pershing, General John J., 222, 314, 

348 
Pexonne, 340, 341, 347 
Phi Beta Kappa, 51, 70, 103, 108 
Pierce, Albert W., 344, 466, 471 
Pierce, Col. Charles C, 459 
Plantation Life in the 6o's, 30-34 
Plattsburg Training Camps, 92, 
109, 204, 205-207; 209, 210, 211- 
219; 222, 223, 227, 261, 267, 286, 
344. 386, 387, 393, 394, 398, 404, 
408, 469 
Poetry, verses by Q. S. Mills, 63, 
68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 77, 105, 106, 
107, 109, 144, 145, 166, 442 
Post, the Quincy Sharpe Mills, 478 
Prendergast, Comptroller William 

A., 162, 206 
President Grant, steamship, 225, 

228, 230, 231, 237, 238, 239 
Prose skits in college, 'J2-'J2> 

Q 

Q. S. M., verses to, by Philip Coan, 

475 

R 

"Raid, The First," 331 

Rainbow, 42nd Division, 221, 222, 

341, 417, 424, 439, 459, 473, 475, 

476 
Red Cross, 394, 436, 460 
Regiment, 165th (Old Sixty-Ninth 

of New York City), 221, 451 
Regiment, 167th (Of Alabama), 

451,458,467 
Regiment, i68th (Of Iowa), 222- 

224, 228, 230, 232, 277, 303, 304, 

324, 340, 341, 342, 344, 345, 347, 

351, 357, 365, 403. 417. 418. 420. 

421, 424, 425, 426, 439, 443, 454, 

456-458, 461, 463, 469, 472 
Reick, William C, 162 
Reportorial work, example of Q. S. 

Mills in Evening Sun, 156 
Rest Camp No. 2, 261 
Rheims, 427, 452, 467 
Richmond Times-Despatch, 73 
Rimaucourt, 267 
Robb, Chaplain Winfred E., 342, 

425, 459, 464 
Robcioniaii; The, iio 



Index 



489 



Roosevelt, Theodore, 153, 155, 156, 
157. i5». 159, 160, 169, 170, 171, 
201, 312, 4()0 

Rubcl, LiL-utcnant Solomon R., 223, 
270, 290, 317, 323, 324, 338, 342, 
345, 457, 458, 460, 464, 466, 472, 

Russian views, 262, 291, 328 



St. Amand, 420 

St. Ciergues, 301, 303, 304, 335, 

340, 364, 369, 380, 411 
St. Clair, David F., 470 
Saturday Evening Post, 330, 340 
School, First Army Corps, 385, 

386, 388, 393, 394, 401 
Scotch-Irish in North Carolina, 10, 

II, 12, 16, 17, 18, 20-24; 28, 35, 

37,38 
Scott, Sergeant Will, 366, 367, 452, 

467 
Segonne, General, 340 
Sergy, 458 

Seringes-et-Nestles, 459 
Sharpe family, maternal ancestors 

of Q. S. Mills, II, 12, 13, 14, 15, 

16, 28 
Sharpe, Leander Quincy, maternal 

grandfather of Q. S. Mills, 15, 28, 

29, 35-37 
Sharpe, Mary Emmeline McKee, 

maternal grandmother of Q. S. 

Mills, 27, 28, 29, 30, 34, 406 
Sharpe, John McKee, of N. C, 26 
Sharpe, John McKee, of Texas, 474 
Sharpe, Quincy, of Texas, 400 
Sharpe, Mrs. S. A., 57 
Simonds, Frank H., 172, 173, 383, 

408, 428 
Skinner, of Co. G, 359, 360, 361, 364 
Smith, George McLeod, 162, 479 
Smoke and smokers, 279, 283, 302, 

314. 327, 335, 337, 338, 345, 359, 

378, 379, 388, 394 
Soissons, 443, 467 
Southampton, 261 
South Boston, Va., 45, 46, 395 
Spirit of the French, 262, 273, 274, 

329, 349, 399,411.469 
Springer, Captain, 351 
Stanley, Major Claude M., 224, 

228, 267, 457, 464 
Stars and Stripes, 314 
Statesville, N. C, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 

22. 30, 31, 35, 37, 40, 41. 4^ 4;., 



45, 46, 47, 48, 51, 56, 59, 61, 64, 
66, 82, 88, 132, 133, 146, 147, 164, 
278, 285, i22, 392, 401, 428 

Stcller, Captain, 223, 290, 317, 359, 

367, 399 
Stover, Charles B., i6i, 162 
Suippes, 426, 450 

Sulzer, Governor William, 160, 171 
Sun, The, 113, 114, 163, 477 
Sun Tobacco Fund, 279, 283 
Sykes, Lieutenant, of Charlotte, N. 

C, 284 



Taft, President, 140, 155, 195 

Tar Heel, The, 19, 70, 71, 73, 74, 85, 

89, 103 
Thedtre des Poilus, 324, 325, 329 
Times, The, N. Y., 113, 115 
Tinley, Colonel Matthew A., 463 
Toul, 404, 408 
Trenches, order to, 401 
Trench rats and cats, 349, 368, 377, 

391 
Trench reports, 359-364 
Tribioie, The, Chicago, 270, 291 
Tribune, The, N. Y., 114, 173 
Turenne Barracks, 267 



U 



United Press, 350 

University of North Carolina, 19, 
20, 62, 64, 67, 74, 76, 85, 86, 87, 
135, 136, 147, 179, 224, 386 

University of N. C. Alumni, 117, 
118 

University of N . C. Magazine, 67, 
70, 73, 86, 103, 106 

University of N. C. Press Associa- 
tion, 70, 73 

Upton, Camp, 220 



V 



V^erdun, 261, 391, 427, 445 
Vesle, the, 458 

Vincent, Robert W., 112, 113 
Vosges, the, 301, 385 

W 

Walker, James Blaine, 477 
IV a d Rose, The, 425 



490 



Index 



Willard, Dr. , 289 

Williams, Dr. Henry Horace, 71, 

74, 76, 108, 165 
Williams, Jesse Lynch, 113 
Williams, Senator John Sharp, 18, 

19, 20 
Wilson, President, 35, 155, 160, 291, 

309, 437 
Wimbledon, Rest Camp, 255 
Winchester, 251 
Winchester Cathedral. 259, 404 



Wood, General Leonard, 312 
World, N. Y., 350 

Y 

Yackety-Yack, 63, 70, 71, 73, 78, 

103, 104, 109 
Y. M. C. A., 299, 300, 364,381,436, 

468 
Younkin, Captain Frank B., 223, 

290, 317, 359-364; 367, 399. 401, 

457. 464. 465. 472